For the second day in a row, the Lebanese have taken to the streets to let their voices be heard by the political establishment after the latter announced planning the introduction of new taxes on Thursday amidst a very severe economic crisis.
The announcement, which followed closely the end of the wildfires that ravaged various parts of Lebanon, brought the Lebanese people to react by the masses. Starting on social media, and coordinating via platforms, thousands took to the streets, from the cities and villages northmost of Beirut to the farthest ones south of the capital.
In an unprecedented united move across the country, they simultaneously rushed and blocked some of the main streets and bridges of major areas across the country, rendering them uncrossable and paralyzed. The government headquarters and parliament building have also been surrounded by the protests, leading riot police to be deployed in the vicinities of the buildings.
The protests erupted as a response to the accumulating pressures that have been imposed on the Lebanese by the government in the past few months. These pressures include the plan to introduce taxes on gasoline, tobacco, VAT, and most recently the app Whatsapp, making it even more difficult for the Lebanese to freely communicate with their families and friends abroad.
That is in addition to the difficulty of the financial situation caused by the sharp decrease in the market value of the Lebanese pound during the past months.
Motivated by the economic and political crises engulfing their country, and stripped of their sectarianism, the protestors are chanting Thawra (Revolution!) while waving their red-and-white cedar flags over the crowd. Beirut, Sidon, Tyre, Tripoli, Batroun, and Jounieh are only some of the many major cities witnessing large protests.
As a result of the protests, the main roads leading to Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (Tariq Al Matar) have been blocked with the exception of one passage being reserved for humanitarian cases; the protests are still ongoing at the time of writing this article.
the only flag in sight is the lebanese one cause that’s where we really belong. united we stand, divided we fall. the power in these pics. #لبنان_ينتفض [pics from @salmanonline] pic.twitter.com/Mnh4FRZsDx— noura (@ndandachli) October 18, 2019
We caution everyone to please give way to the Red Cross when passing. We also remind our citizens that they can seek free legal advice and support from the Lebanese Center for Human Rights if they get arrested during the protests.