On Sunday, the Lebanese marked 11 days since they embarked on the ongoing historic uprising against their ruling class. In a show of unity that's been a pillar of Lebanon's revolution, hundreds of thousands came together to form a human chain spanning across the country.
The chain is estimated to have covered around 170 kilometers and ran across Beirut, Sidon, Tyre, and Tripoli. In a statement to The Daily Star, the event's organizer, Julie Tegho Bou Nassif, said that all participants "successfully covered the entire distance by approximately 3 p.m. despite 'some gaps.'"
The number of those who took part in the event remains unconfirmed but it's estimated that around 170,000 people would have been needed to form a continuous chain over the area covered.
The turnout "was very overwhelming to see and it confirmed our hunch that Lebanese people want to be unified and that they have come together," Bou Nassif added.
The idea behind the human chain came up during a conversation Bou Nassif had with her sister, Edith Tegho, last Tuesday.
Soon after, they launched a Facebook page calling for people to join the event and it immediately went viral. Over 300 volunteers joined the team to lend a hand in organizing the event.
The Lebanese human chain made global headlines and #HumanChain became the talk of the town on Twitter. Many uploaded threads featuring live coverage of the event while others tweeted out in support of the vision behind it.
The chain connected people from North to South
From Tyre to Tripoli
"Intergenerational and crossclass"
Lebanon's human chain is like no other
A view like no other
A man'oushe made it all the way through
"Tripoli is hungry, deliver this man'oushe there. Pass it on."
A symbol of unity
Hand in hand, Lebanon was united
Even pets joined the chain
"We are one"
Lebanon's revolt continues
The movement wasn't just a reaction to the proposed excise but also came in response to the government's passivity, corruption, and lack of proactive plans and solutions to soothe the country's economic crisis and all other problems it is facing. Wildfires, a good 104 of them, burnt through acres of forests in Lebanon and were described as the worst in the country's history two weeks ago. The nonchalant government people want to take down asked for help from Jordan, Greece, and Cyprus, though they had the necessary equipment to end the fires. The problem? "No money" for maintenance.
Over the past week, the country's Lebanese Forces parliamentary bloc requested that its four ministers in government submit their resignation, while PM Hariri announced a reform plan that protesters have widely criticized. On Thursday, President Michel Aoun addressed the nation on television for the first time, yet he failed to quell protests. A day later, the leader of Lebanese political party and organization Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah spoke out against the revolt in a televised speech. In it, he questioned the funding behind ongoing protests, doubted their spontaneity, and said the government shouldn't consider resigning at the time being.