Several big protests and marches erupted in several regions in Lebanon. There were large crowds, many roadblocks, intense clashes, numerous injuries, and arrests.
All of this took place on Thursday evening, but there was absolutely no media coverage of the protests.
What about coronavirus, social distancing, and curfew, you must be asking. Well, an average Lebanese revolutionary will say this in self-defense: “What is worse: dying from coronavirus or dying from hunger?”
This is what drove the Lebanese people to the streets amid such circumstances.
First, it was the Parliament’s legislative session that didn’t approve any of the laws that complement the revolutionary demands, or the people’s needs for that matter.
After months of people demanding adjustments and fair treatment, and after months of businesses crashing, unemployment reigning, banking measures oppressing, and the people patiently waiting in quarantine for solutions to their increasing distress, the officials met to come out with nothing to give to the people but rejections and disregard.
The revolution was prone to fuel back.
It doesn’t help either that the dollar exchange rate has recently reached 4,000 LBP, coupled with the high taxes, and adding to the tough living conditions.
People first organized the protest to be outside the Central Bank and the main demand was the fall of Governor Riyad Salameh.
Unknown men were seen arriving in the Martyrs’ Square in downtown Beirut on their motorcycles and vandalizing the revolution’s symbols. They destroyed the Phoenix and the statue of the ‘woman of the revolution’.
Many said that they are thugs sent by political parties and blocs to destroy all traces of the people’s revolution, now that the government had its way in the legislative session on Wednesday.
All these factors and more drove the people to ignore all the risks and go out on the streets.
Roads in Dbayeh, Barja, Saadnayel, Taalabeya, Bar Elias, Tripoli, Sidon, Khaldeh, Dahyeh, and El-Madineh El-Riyadyeh were blocked by gatherings and burning tires.
Intense clashes were also part of Thursday’s events. Sidon witnessed collisions between revolutionaries and security forces and many fell injured; some were arrested.
In Bar Elias and Taalabey in the Bekaa area, things went sour with the army and ISF.
The army fired bullets in the air to disperse the protests, which led people to react in destroying an ISF security barrier; also more than 30 people were injured.
In tripoli, people destroyed ATMs, blocked the Palma Highway, and went back to protest in Al-Nour Square.
The events of this day were risky in regard to the coronavirus, but how much of this humiliation can a population take? People are not working, and the taxes are getting too much.
There are people who can’t even feed their families anymore. A government cannot expect people to care about a pandemic and be confined in their homes with empty fridges and stomachs.
Some might argue that it’s the case in all countries of the world, but they can’t be wronger.
Many countries have been allocating financial support to their citizens who are unemployed due to the outbreak or whose income has been affected by the outbreak.
That is to add that Lebanon has been suffering from economic and financial hardships, and lack of essentials, long before the outbreak, and long before the Revolution that started on October 17th, 2019.
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