Protest Happening in Lebanon

Indira Khaitan, Entertainment Editor

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What started as a small protest has evolved into an anti-government revolution, sparking a violent protest in Beirut that resulted in 40 deaths in the demand for social and political change.

 

The protests began on Oct. 17 in direct response to a regressive tax proposal, but the underlying cause is the economic crisis the country has been facing. Since then, numerous protests have arisen, all aimed at corruption, sectarianism, and mismanagement within the Lebanese government.

 

Lebanon has been suffering from long-term economic instability, an inconsistent supply of electricity and running water, and insufficient waste management. The Lebanese government proved itself truly incapable to its people when it was too ill-prepared to respond to a massive string of forest fires.

 

Senior Laura Saleh has family in Lebanon who are being directly affected by the protests.

 

“What the government is doing is wrong. People are starving and losing their homes, and parents can’t afford clothes and food for their kids,” Saleh said.

 

This is why the hundreds of thousands of protestors are demanding a completely new government – and their efforts are not in vain. Consultations to construct a new government were scheduled to begin on Monday, Dec 8, following the forced resignation of the prime minister. However, they were postponed.

 

What makes the Lebanese protests especially distinctive is their diversity in terms of religious sect and class. The country has a history of sectarianism, as it has 18 official religions. There have been religious conflicts in Lebanon in the past, namely between Muslims and Christians. Despite this, protestors from across all sects have united with one common goal in mind.

 

“I’m from a specific sect. My friend is from a specific sect.” Fatima Hammoud told the New York Times. “But we’re all here together for our futures and our children’s futures.”

 

The protests themselves have an interesting light to them, as well. In the streets, people dance, DJs perform, and vendors set up ice cream trucks.

 

However, the events of the Dec. 15 Beirut protest that caused 40 deaths shows how the protests have turned a violent, more urgent corner. The protest started as a sit in, but police began to demonstrate excessive force, firing tear gas and rubber bullets while protestors threw stones.

 

These protests are the largest the country has seen, and demand a progressive government and economy.