On the seventh day of the Lebanese revolution, roads all around Lebanon are still half-to-completely closed by the protesters who are aiming at paralyzing the country as a way to pressure the government into resigning.
On Weds morning, October 23rd, army members were given direct orders to reopen the main highways in Lebanon for people to be able to go to work and to their daily life commitments. Accordingly, hundreds of army members tried to move the protesters away from the roads in Jal El Dib and Zouk Mosbeh by creating a human wall and trying to push the protestors to the sides of the road.
The army made sure to inform the protesters that they are intending on reopening the roads harmlessly. Every time they suspected a close clash with protesters, army members raised their hands up and urged the protesters to raise their hands up too as a way of saying that no force or violence will be used to solve the conflict.
Protesters also used the direct action of the sit-in as a way to block the road peacefully, all while avoiding clashes with the army. They offered bottles of water and flowers to the soldiers and went on chanting for them words of support, making it evident that their protest is not in any way against them, and that they fully understand their difficult position during these times of national uprise.
All these open expressions of love touched the soldiers, and some were spotted trying to swallow their tears. One of them, in particular, was seen crying as the protesters sang the Lebanese National Anthem, raising their hands towards them in respectful salute.
Another video that went viral today on social media is a soldier and a protester hugging tight while in tears, both expressing what words couldn’t about the great mutual love between the Lebanese people and their army.
People all over Lebanon have been reacting beautifully to the videos, expressing their love and support to their army and their country. Indeed, both sides have been showing great empathy towards each other. It hasn’t been a rare scene in the streets of Lebanon since the onset of the protest of protesters offering flowers and even homemade meals and sandwiches to the army.
The Lebanese Army Commander in Chief addressed the protesters in a statement that said, “The army stands with you and with your rightful life demands, and is committed to protecting freedom of speech and freedom of protesting peacefully, away from closing the roads in front of other citizens and using this way to cause riots. We are reopening the roads for you and for people in need of basic needs like food and medical aid and fuel and other essentials.”
The army eventually stood down, and the attempt of reopening roads was mostly unsuccessful.