It's been eight days and the Lebanese are not giving up, not this time. They have been gathering on roads in several cities across the country to protest corruption since Oct.17. They are demanding concrete change for once. They are not mincing words, rather they are screaming their anger, frustration, and demands at the top of their lungs. They are not giving way to sectarianism in a country that has already suffered enough from it. They are uniting against the political elites, even in cities where political affiliation is incredibly high.
The protests have been described as the largest in 14 years when Lebanon's then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated. But, there's something different about the 2019 demonstrations. The union of the people is unmatched, the call for change is persistent. Hundreds of thousands of people have filled abandoned buildings, lonely statues, and streets across the country. Roads are jam-packed with people, not cars for a change.
Here are some before-and-during revolution images that flaunt the energy of the people:
*All photos on the left were taken during the recent protests.
1. Tripoli's Sahat El Nour was all about the people
2. The Jal El Dib bridge was finally put to use
After years of delay, the Jal El-Dib bridge finally opened to the public in March 2019, though construction work in the area continued for a month after that. The construction and opening of the bridge were meant to reduce traffic jams in the area, but the complaints haven't gone away. The bridge proved to be of no use in terms of traffic reduction, but it was finally put to use during the recent and ongoing demonstrations.
3. Aishti by the sea idly sitting on the backdrop of hundreds of people
Aishti, which could easily be described as the home of the elite, finally saw people of all backgrounds gather on the outskirts of its shop.
4. Lonely Riad El Solh statue made friends
The eponymous statue located in Riad El Solh Square is designed by Italian Renato Marino Mazzacurati. The statue is rarely ever accompanied by people, but that was not the case during the protests.
5. Martyrs' Square on a starry night
The energy on Martyrs' Square is like nothing you've seen before.
6. The Blue Mosque has never been more beautiful
Aerial photos of the area reveal just how committed people are to disrupting and dismantling the system.
7. Revolutionary lights on buildings
8. Lebanese flags atop The Dome (aka The Egg)
People even screened a Lebanese movie inside the abandoned dome this week.
"We're watching a Lebanese movie inside The Egg, and a coffee guy is wandering around the theater clinking his cups to sell to the audience. Not only are we reclaiming public space, but also cultural identity and stolen history. Change is here," one Twitter user wrote.
9. Another statue, more people
10. People occupied main roads in Saida
11. The public tried to reclaim Le Grand Theatre
It was eventually closed off by security officials with metal barriers.