Beirut witnessed a day full of disappointment and anger on Tuesday, February 11th. It was hashtagged Tuesday of Anger on social media, with non-stop tweets until late at night. Hundreds demonstrators were injured while the new Government got its vote of confidence against the will of the people.
In the days leading up to the parliamentary session for the confidence vote, the authorities were very busy with their politics and with planning to overcome the masses of protest in order to legitimize a government by a government that had long lost its legitimacy.
A new security plan of "exceptional measures" was set in motion in coordination with the ISF and the Lebanese Army. New cement walls were placed around the parliamentary building to “protect” government officials and isolate them from the people.
In parallel, countless of Lebanese citizens were preparing an action plan to stop the MPs from reaching the parliament. Revolutionaries gathered a night before in several annexed streets and many set up camp around the parliament, many of which came from across Lebanon:
From their side, government officials, in anticipation and fear of not reaching the scheduled session, spent the night in the parliament and others in surrounding hotels, both of which were heavily guarded. Some of these MPs sneaked into the parliament at dawn unnoticed.
On the morning of February 11th, 2020, thousands of soldiers, both army and ISF, were posted around the parliamentary area.
Hundreds of angry protesters made their way from all over Lebanon with one thought in mind “no confidence, stop the parliament session” and they meant to achieve it. Some even tried to call on the security forces to stop protecting those "who robbed the country and put us in such misery."
Adamant to stop the vote to pass, protesters tried to break into the parliament. They tried to break down the barriers installed by the government, and close the streets, and chanted against the new government.
Soon enough, in attempts to silence the peaceful protesters, tear gas and water were fired at them and batons used against them by the ISF and army to protect the parliament.
Clashes grew more and more aggressive during the hours of this session; the Red Cross reported hundreds of injuries.
The parliament session took place despite the brutal demonstrations and attacks happening outside. The session lasted 8 hours, with 84 of the 128 MPs discussing the ministerial statement set by the new government, and voting, oblivious to the raging nation in the streets.
The results were as follows:
- The government was given the vote of confidence
- 63 MPs voted in favor of giving confidence to the new government
- 20 MPs voted against and 1 abstained
- 45 protesters were severely injured and hospitalized
- 328 injuries were treated on the ground.
In the end, the confidence was given to the new government by a government that had already lost its legitimacy, a parliament that has long ceased to represent the people, and its current members totally refused by the people.
Officials seem to forget that a democratic government is by the people for the people. The revolution has lost a battle this time, yet it is not over, not by a long shot. "This is not over. We are continuing till the end," is what you most hear among the people of the revolution.
The Revolution continues...