The Lebanese revolution that brought upwards of a million people to the streets has not wavered in front of the coronavirus threat.
Revolutionists are still finding ways to keep the fire blazing even with the virus and mandated curfew set by the government.
On March 27th, as the Lebanese government imposed a curfew, the Internal Security Forces raided the people still frequenting the tents on Martyrs’ Square and forced them out. They tore down the tents, burned down many, and arrested the revolutionaries.
Hady Ezzeddin, one of these protesters, told Al-Monitor that they were attacked without any warning. “They didn’t warn us before. They attacked suddenly,” he said.
Coronavirus, lockdown, social-distancing, and curfew haven’t in fact dissuaded the people to persist with their revolution. While most have retreated from the streets and gatherings, their activities have continued from their homes.
The bulk of the action is happening online, with virtual gatherings and seminars, and the spreading of messages. Some have even decided to make their strong statements by hanging signs from their balconies.
“The revolution is still on with and without Corona,” states a sign on one of the balconies. A sign in Koreitem says, “17 October revolution, a revolution until victory,” and includes the newly trending hashtag #wewillbeback.
The coronavirus outbreak has posed a new challenge for the protesters; however, many have pledged to resume their protests after the health threat is over.
The revolution is expected to grow stronger with many among the Lebanese diaspora coming back home due to the pandemic; so far over 20,000 Lebanese have reportedly applied to return,
Most revolutionaries are doing all they can to support their community in the fight against coronavirus. Mohammad Shouk, head of Hurras Al-Madina, now focuses on sanitizing the streets and neighborhoods in Tripoli.
Other revolutionists have been organizing donation drives and social media campaigns to assist those most affected by the lockdown.
The Lebanese people are going through an exceptionally difficult time with many falling below the poverty line.
This new crisis has hit even more the already crumbling economy and grappling health system. That, in addition to an increase in the prices and bank capital control, will definitely bring the Lebanese back to the streets in more numbers and with a stronger determination.