Day 21 of the Lebanon uprising: probably one of the best days so far; certainly the most creative day in terms of civil disobedience campaigns across Lebanon.
The past few days were dominated by street scuffles between protesters trying to block roads and the army / security forces trying to keep them open. This generated quite a bit of debate about the cost/benefit trade off of this strategy, with some people criticizing the protesters for impacting their ability to work / go to school etc, and protesters arguing that this was needed to keep the pressure on the government to yield to demands as the President, 7 days after Hariri’s resignation, hadn’t even started the process of consulting with Parliament to select the new PM (who would then form a new government).
Today was different. Very few, if any, road closures, but dozens of smaller protests consisting of hundreds of people a piece popped up across the country, from the North to the South (I’ve seen estimates of about ~60 or so protests of hundreds of people per protest across all of Lebanon), along with a big group (thousands) consisting mostly of women congregating at Riad al Solh square by the end of the night for a candlelight vigil.
11/6/19 (Riad el Solh Square, Beirut) – Candlelight vigil
The stars of the protests today were the high school and university students across the country who skipped school and demonstrated all day (there was a call for students across the country to do so yesterday). It was heartening to see these young people engage in direct action to have a say about the future of the country. I’ve added a couple of videos to this post, but there are dozens and dozens of videos at one of the Facebook pages of the Revolution (Tripoli based; Arabic content for the most part)
11/6/19 (Rachaya, in South East Lebanon) – Variety of different protests today: first protest in front of OGERO (telecom); next are student protests at various schools
There were also many other interesting displays of civil disobedience, including protesting in front of major companies perceived to be corrupt (like Alfa, EDL, OGERO etc), protests in front of banks (I saw a few groups of protesters calling for the “downfall of the capitalist system”), banging on pots and pans as a symbol of support for the uprising, and an attempt to reclaim public spaces across Beirut (for example, the attempt to reclaim public beach property that was illegally built on by various private developers, with Eden Bay and its owner Wissam ‘Achour being particular targets of protester ire).
As a side note, for people who may not be familiar with the history, the banging of pots and pans dates back to 1916 in Lebanon during the great famine, when locusts devastated crops. People banged pots to chase away the locusts. As such, the banging of pots and pans is trying to draw a parallel between the state of hunger back then (because of the locusts), and the state of hunger today (because of the politicians), essentially making the analogy between locusts and politicians. It’s powerful symbolism.
11/6/19 (Riad Al Solh Square, Beirut) – Large group of female demonstrators banging on pots and pans while they hold candles
There’s talk tomorrow of a day of action to remove politicians’ pictures from walls and public property in Tripoli (and across Lebanon?), which, if you’ve ever been to Lebanon, you notice literally anywhere and everywhere, and discussions of different ways to continue putting pressure on the government to act.
As always, my love and admiration to everyone on the ground working hard to change the country for the better. You give us hope.
11/6/19 (Riad Al Solh Square, Beirut)