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Protesters show unity in Lebanon

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Issue 2678
Protesters in Beirut, Lebanon
Protesters in Beirut, Lebanon (Pic: Shahen books/Wikimedia commons)

Mass demonstrations across Lebanon have entered their second week—with protesters refusing to give up roadblocks in cities across the country.

Demonstrators there want an end to mass youth unemployment, poverty—and the fall of the government.

In an impressive display, protesters formed a giant human chain along a 105-mile highway, running from Tyre in the south to Tripoli in the north.

The action was designed to show how the mass revolt has united people across religious and regional divides.

Protesters accuse Lebanon’s ruling politicians of enriching themselves while trying to make ordinary people pay for the country’s economic crisis.

The Lebanese government—led by Western-backed prime minister Saad Hariri—is in “deadlock” after its proposed “reforms” failed to end the protests.

The government hoped plans such as privatising the country’s telecoms industry would encourage investment by foreign donors.

The International Monetary Fund—which champions privatisation and austerity across the globe—called for the reforms to be implemented “urgently”.

But protesters refused to give up their roadblocks—and though the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, they could soon face stronger state repression.

Soldiers in Tripoli in northern Lebanon opened fire on one roadblock on Friday.

And supporters of the Hizbollah movement—part of the governing coalition—attacked protesters in the capital Beirut.

“We’re not going anywhere,” said protester Fay Abu Hassan. “They can bring dogs, cops and we’re not going to get off the street.”

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