Hundreds of Lebanese protesters demonstrated again on Saturday to determine the government’s powerlessness in the face of economic collapse, during the first session after the containment.
Lebanese back on the street. Hundreds of protesters rallied in central Beirut on Saturday, June 6, to protest the government’s powerlessness in the face of economic collapse. Collisions broke out with supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah movement.
The rally is the first since the authorities began to facilitate the containment measures introduced in mid-March to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
This mobilization at Place des Martyrs was accompanied by mixes between protesters and police, who used tear gas. A total of 48 people were injured, including 37 treated on site, a spokesman for the Lebanese Red Cross told AFP.
Among the protesters, who come from different backgrounds, demanded some disarmament to Hezbollah, which is not one of the main demands of the uprising, launched in October to condemn the entire political class accused of corruption and incompetence.
“No to Hezbollah, no to its weapons”
While stones were thrown between groups of protesters and supporters of the powerful Shiite movement from a nearby neighborhood, the army intervened to prevent the escalation, an AFP photographer reported.
“Shiite, Shiite,” shouted supporters of Hezbollah, a political heavyweight, some waving the yellow flag of the movement.
The issue of Hezbollah’s weapons is one of the main areas of war that divides the political class. The Shiite group is the only faction that has not abandoned its military arsenal at the end of the civil war (1975-1990).
“No to Hezbollah, no to its arms,” could be read on the sign marked by Sana, a 57-year-old Nabatiye (south) protester. “Weapons may only be in the hands of the army,” she told AFP.
“For a government that eliminates corruption, not protects it”
Heterogeneous groups participated in anti-power demonstrations, promoted a plethora of economic and social grievances and various demands, and called for some early legislative elections.
“For a government that eliminates corruption, not protects it,” could be read on a sign, the overwhelming majority of protesters wearing a face mask for protection against coronavirus.
Near the Place des Martyrs, at the entrance to a street that leads to Parliament, protesters were bursting that cracked the security forces and rattled windows of tear gas.
“We demonstrate for our rights, medical care, education, work, the most basic rights a person needs to stay alive,” Christina, a 21-year-old student, told AFP.
Collisions and stone throwing threw residents in the Christian neighborhood of Ain al-Remmaneh against those in the Shiite suburb of Chiyah, but police have restored the calm, according to state news agency ANI.
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The uprising, released on October 17, 2019, saw hundreds of thousands of Lebanese crack the floor to scream their tears as the country continues its economic collapse, which is accompanied by a sharp write-down of the Lebanese pound and an explosion in inflation.
Unemployment affects more than 35% of the working population, while more than 45% of the population lives below the poverty line, according to estimates from the Ministry of Finance.
Despite the spirit phase of mobilization in recent months, processions continued to pair with cars in the capital, while collisions in Tripoli (north) angered angry protesters against the police, killing one of the protesters in late April.
Under pressure from the streets, a new government was formed at the beginning of the year without triggering any changes.
To receive financial support, the authorities adopted an economic recovery plan at the end of April, following negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and committed to implementing the reforms that the international community had expected for several years but never implemented.