Monday, October 21st, people all around Lebanon fill the streets for the fifth day in a row, their voices echoing with patriotic chants and anti-government cries while the authority struggles to control the peaceful protests. The participants have only been growing in number, more and more motivated as days go by. However, although the protests have been mostly peaceful, they have not been casualty free.
On Saturday, October 19th, an enthusiastic citizen called Hussein Al-Attar was among the protesters blocking the streets leading to the airport (Tariq Al Matar). At around 8:45 AM, he was shot in the heart by a man named Khalil who was trying to move travelers and their baggage through to the airport on his motorcycle for a sum of money in return.
The man, who’s in his forties, was denied passage by Hussein who told him that he would only let him through if he would stop charging for what he was doing, and help his fellow Lebanese for the sake of helping them.
Following a heated argument between both men, Khalil drew out his gun and shot Hussein in the heart and then proceeded to escape the scene. Authorities claimed that the search for the murderer is still ongoing.
Hussein Al-Attar is one of the numerous earnest protesters rallying in Beirut since the start of the protests. He had been awaiting the occurrence of an uprising in Lebanon for years, according to his cousin Jaafar. He is also the first one to lose his life in the pursuit of justice and better living conditions.
Just like many of the demonstrators today, Hussein was a Lebanese young man with dreams, hopes, hobbies, and love for life. His devastated father said:
“Hussein, like other young people, was eager for a job that would secure a decent future in his homeland and allow him the opportunity to marry after being in a relationship with a girl. And with the cry in Lebanon, he was quick to participate to convey his voice and express his pain in an attempt to bring about positive change in his country. But at nine o’clock in the morning, his dreams and his life ended after a criminal fired a shot at him and killed him.”
Although Hussein Al-Attar is the first fatality to occur in light of the continuous protests, he is not the only casualty. Protesters, as well as law enforcement officers, have suffered casualties during the demonstrations. As of October 21st, Lebanese security forces have reported 52 injuries among their lines.
Regardless of the casualties and fatalities, Lebanese demonstrators have been insistent that their protests are peaceful, and will remain so until their objectives are attained. Despite some vandalism and confrontations here and there with law enforcement officers in Beirut, the Lebanese have been protesting peacefully while demonstrating respect and consideration towards the security forces deployed in the streets.