Scuffles, Roads Blocked as Beirut Protesters Denounce Living Conditions

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Clashes erupted and several Beirut roads were blocked Sunday as demonstrators took to the streets to denounce the dire social and economic situations in the country.

Carrying Lebanese flags, protesters in downtown Beirut chanted ‘No Sectarianism, We All Want Health Care Cards’ and ‘The People Want to Topple The Regime’.

Some protesters donned yellow vests in a move echoing the ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations that have been rocking France for several weeks now.

“Organizers declared that they are not emulating the protests that are taking place in France but rather asking the Lebanese state to follow the example of the French state in raising the wages of workers and employees and slashing taxes and other fees in order to preserve the dignity of the citizen in his country,” the National News Agency reported.

The first scuffles erupted at the Riad al-Solh Square after some protesters started removing metallic security barriers outside the Grand Serail while hurling water bottles at security forces.

“The lawyer Abbas Srour from the civil society movement was lightly injured in the head by a water bottle hurled at security forces,” NNA said.

Some protesters later headed to the nearby Tabaris and Beshara al-Khoury areas where they blocked roads and clashed with security forces.

In the evening, a number of demonstrators rallied on the capital's Hamra Street in a demo that soon escalated into a confrontation with army troops and security forces.

"Chanting 'Revolution', some protesters smashed the facades of some shops and money exchange firms on Hamra Street near Starbucks," the National News Agency reported.

The army eventually intervened in force and managed to disperse protesters and restore calm in the area.

The Army Command meanwhile issued a statement warning protesters to keep their actions peaceful, vowing to prevent any attack on public and private property.

Ex-minister Wiam Wahhab meanwhile tweeted that security forces “must realize that the demands of the protesters are also their demands.”

“The corrupts are the rivals of security forces the same as they are the rivals of the rest of the people,” Wahhab added.

"We want a government," shouted one protester to a TV reporter.

"I am here to fight against the corruption of the state. We are here to bring back our social services. We need our rights. We need to live as human beings. We need that our government respects us," said Michel al-Hajj, another protester.

Sunday’s protest comes in the wake of several smaller demonstrations sparked by the death of an ill child after a hospital reportedly refused to admit him due to his parents’ failure to pay a fee of $2,000.

Comments 17
Thumb Mrknowitall 23 December 2018, 15:47

Ex-minister Wiam Wahhab supports this so it must be legitimate.

Thumb canadianleb 23 December 2018, 17:19

let's hope the demonstrations keep going without a sectarian tone. Lebanese need to wake up and do what was done in the Ukraine and put ALL of the Lebanese politicians in garbage cans one by one.

Thumb tric.portugal 23 December 2018, 17:41

Ukraine only have garbage politicians!

Thumb canadianleb 23 December 2018, 19:26

Lebanon has Warlords!!!

Thumb lebanon_first 23 December 2018, 17:52

Bunch of loosers. They want to smoke arguileh all afternoon and get a health care card care of the state.

From where is the state going to pay their entitlements? Country is indebted to the core. If you tax the rich, they stop investing in lebabon, and these commies lose their jobs.

They want money, let them work to earn it Let them ditch their car and maid, use public transport, get their typical lebanese sized ego in check.

Missing rabiosa 23 December 2018, 18:45

They want to fight the corrupt politicians, yet most likely if am guessing right they voted for the same politicians in last elections. Do they dare go protest infront of who's holding the government hostage? bet you not. Yes the country is broke. Too big of a bureaucracy, redundant employees, pensions, etc.. etc... Government cannot provide everything. The only salvation is in privatizing some state industries and let the free market does it job.

Saw W. Jumblatt in Marcel Ghanim's show, although he's a "progressive socialist", but basically said he's against any privatization. Only governments that totally control all industries are communists

Thumb canadianleb 23 December 2018, 19:32

Sounds good what public transport? what jobs? The people are getting educated and graduating and no jobs so they leave. So when the people have jobs and pay taxes that are not stolen by the government you will see progress, the governments main job is to create employment by encouraging investment in the country and not wanting to be partners with anyone who wants to invest and set rules that make them run back to where they came from ( I am speaking from experience). Take a close look at how much money each politician earns and what his net worth was before he started and what it is now. Educate yourself before you say things that make no sense

Thumb lebanon_first 23 December 2018, 19:59

Those who want to leave them leave work in dubai and retire in lebanon. No place here for everyone.

If they were manifesting for public transport, no problem. But they want handouts.entitled loosers.

If they dont like their parliamentarians, let them not vote for them

They are not asking for the rule of law and for measures to foster a conducive business climate. They are just nagging for handouts.

So understand my comment before attacking.

Tired of the constant nagging.

Thumb lebanon_first 23 December 2018, 20:03

Also they shoild demonstrate against army officer and government employees payments. Each officer gets 600,000usd as end of service compensation plus a free driver. This plus corruption is what they should demonstrate against.

Thumb libanaisresilient 24 December 2018, 04:04

I agree with you @canadianleb

Missing bigjohn 23 December 2018, 20:33

So if someone who does not have $2,000 and is ill is a loser and he or she must die? The wealthy in Lebanon can pay more taxes. They pay a lot more taxes in the west and they come to Lebanon paying very little taxes especially in real estate.

The Lebanese workers MAJORITY need to recognize that March 8 do not represent them when it comes to economic matters. They represent the wealthy. The workers MUST demand March 8 leaders do represent them when it comes to domestic economic matters. Otherwise, they need to create a progressive political party that represents the Lebanese workers and intellectuals. There is nothing progressive about the Progressive "Socialist" Party and HA no longer represents the economic interests of the Shiite poor.

Missing keserwaniaseel 24 December 2018, 06:12

But the qawmiyeh are progressive?

Thumb natour 24 December 2018, 19:59

There used to be a party that represented the Lebanese workers and intellectuals. It was called the Lebanese Communist Party. It's intellectuals were murdered one by one by the Islamic Resistance in the mid 80s. Basically they suffered the same fate as the intellectual Communists in Iran after the Islamic Revolution. For instance Dr. Hassan Hamdan's seminal work The Sectarian State (1986), under the pseudonym Mahdi Amel, and Hussein Mroue's highly critical editorials led to their assassinations. They and others like them were dangerous secular voices in a Shii3a community about to be infested by the Iranian Islamic culture. After the fall of the USSR the Syrian regime destroyed what remained with internal strife. The same as it did to the SSNP in the 1970s. Today's LCP is just a subservient tool that has nothing to do with the old one, like the SSNP. Not even Hanna Gharib's good intentions can save it.

Thumb beiruti 23 December 2018, 20:58

These guys need to realize that under current management, Lebanon is not a .state, much less a Republic. It is a collection of tribes existing under the thin veneer of a state. Under that thin veneer, the militia leaders are still there,as they were 30 years ago. The only difference now is that they used to contest for “shares” with weapons and bloodshed that only drew into the mix the Syrian mafia to compete with them, so, in 2005, they threw off the Yrian mafia and agreed to compete for “shares” as they do it now.
Eat while the people go without basic services, no electricity, no water treatment plants no nothing of a modern state. So don’t expect from these guys what they have no intention of giving.

Thumb libanaisresilient 24 December 2018, 04:09

I agree with you 100% @beiruti

Thumb natour 23 December 2018, 21:22

The people want to topple the regime. What kind of regime do they want to replace it with, this one?

Thumb s.o.s 23 December 2018, 22:01

The pêople demand that politicians refund the 80 billion dollars they stole and that the Shia terrorist organization be dismantled and its leadership put on trial!