#Lebanon'sUprising. #EveryoneMeansEveryone. #People'sRevolution. #It'sTimeForAccountability. These are just an online glimpse of Lebanon's countrywide protests that began on Thursday evening and continued on Friday.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets last night across several cities in Lebanon including Beirut, Saida, Tyre, Nabatiyeh, Jbeil, Tripoli and Baalbeck — to name a few. The demonstrations, which are still ongoing, came amid the country's deteriorating economic conditions and were sparked after the government announced its plans to introduce new taxes. One such proposal is the now-canceled tax plan on internet-based phone calls happening on apps such as Whatsapp. The movement wasn't just a reaction to the proposed excise, but a response to the government's passivity, corruption and lack of proactive plans and solutions.
"I think that this is the first time in years that we've seen such energy. We started off with less than 100 protesters. A line of women stood facing the police. Suddenly, the protests grew bigger," Aya Abi Haidar, one protester, told StepFeed.
"People are cursing politicians out loud. They are not afraid anymore because they're tired," she added.
Several major roads were blocked with burning tires. Protesters clashed with security forces in Riad el Solh Square, with several injuries reported. Anger, frustration and determination fueled the protests. Unity sustained them.
The protests have been described as the biggest the country has witnessed since 2015 when the country's waste management crisis prompted people to take to the streets.
"We have seen protests everywhere from the north to the south. It proves that we have come a long way since the 2015 protests. People need to keep going until politicians take their needs into consideration," Abi Haidar told StepFeed.
She urges people not to be afraid, not to hide in their homes, nor to just sit back and take photos from their balconies. "Join us. This is for you and has nothing to do with any external political parties," she said.
With this recent protest, people are demanding concrete change. Lebanon is currently reeling under massive financial debt, estimated at around $86 billion or more than 150 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While Lebanese officials have attempted to alleviate concerns over dollar liquidity and vowed to implement the necessary reforms, the country faces an alarming loss of confidence among foreign investors and depositors, according to Reuters.
According to The Daily Star, police fired tear gas to push protesters back when they began heading towards the Grand Serail, aka the headquarters of the Prime Minister of Lebanon. Several protesters fainted, 22 were rushed to hospitals and 70 others were treated on the scene.
By dawn, the protests settled but were reignited Friday morning in several areas across the country. Schools were closed following orders from the government. Several roads were blocked again on Friday as protesters took to the streets for the second consecutive day.
"Slept to a protest, woke up to a REVOLUTION"
People have been sharing highlights of the protest on social media since Thursday evening.
Here's a glimpse: