November 16, 2018 / 3:10 PM / a month ago

Beirut traffic grinds to a halt as army prepares parade

Traffic fills a highway in Beirut, Lebanon November 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese army preparations for an Independence Day parade next week brought parts of Beirut to a standstill on Friday, as road closures caused delays lasting hours for many of the capital’s commuters.

A huge traffic jam stretching far out of the city snarled up the main coastal highway - the chief road running from north from the capital - and caused chaos in the districts alongside.

Even by Beirut’s congested standards, Friday’s gridlock was exceptional. Television stations ran live coverage, including comments of angry motorists - some in very colourful language.

Lebanon’s decaying roads have been awaiting an overhaul since a 15-year civil war ended in 1990. The army apologised for the chaos in a tweet.

Reporting By Angus McDowall, Editing by William Maclean

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