Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

The best moments from 10 days of protests in Lebanon

Protesters use music and dance to demand change

Lebanese protesters took to the streets for a tenth day at the weekend to vent their anger about corruption, the state of the country's economy and its public services.

Since the start of the protests last week, the mood in central Beirut has been fiery and festive, with demonstrators waving flags and chanting for revolution.

Prompted by the government's plans to introduce new taxes, the protesters are demanding the removal of the country's political class.

They feel neglected by the authorities, especially for being left out of the economy. Unemployment rates have risen to nearly 40 per cent for those under 25.

Videos of people of all ages and religions playing patriotic songs in the streets with some forming human chains have gone viral online and across the world.

Although numbers have declined since October 20, when hundreds of thousands took over Beirut and other cities in Lebanon's largest demonstrations for years, they could rise again in the coming days.

Here are some of the best moments:

Baby Shark

Protesters spontaneously sang the popular children’s song to calm a toddler caught up in the demonstrations.

Eliane Jabbour found herself in the middle of a crowd of protesters and was worried the noise and commotion would frighten her 15-month-old son, Robin, who had just woken up from a nap in the passenger seat of her car.

Protesters hovered around her car with smiles while serenading Robin with the South Korean song Baby Shark and its playful dance. A bearded man is seen dancing, wading in and out of the crowd with fishlike motions.

The video of Robin staring at the singing and dancing crowd while glancing at his mother went viral on social media and has become a symbol for the anti-government demonstrations.

"Although he looked confused in the video, right now he starts laughing whenever he watches it," Mrs Jabbour told Reuters.

“We want to sing, dance and topple the government”

Festive-like scenes dominated the country, from Beirut to remote towns with loudspeakers blasting music and slogans.

Hundreds of demonstrators in central Beirut chanted: “We want to sing, dance and topple the government.”

Others chanted: “Thieves, thieves! We are not leaving the streets!”

Protesters call for the ousting of Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil

Protesters chanted “Bassil... out out, refugees, in in", a reference to Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil who has repeatedly made racist comments towards refugees in Lebanon.

Mr Bassil has been vocal in demanding that Syrians go home despite international bodies like the UN issuing a warning that it is not safe yet for their return.

Lebanon's population is roughly 4.5 million, and it has hosted the largest refugee population per capita during Syria's civil war. The impact has worsened the state's economy which is expected to slip into recession this year for the first time in two decades, despite billions in international assistance to help support refugees and vulnerable local communities.

Lebanese say they are the 'happiest depressed people'

Even as protesters raised their voices and lit small fires to draw attention to their cause, they sang and cheered, with many claiming to be the "happiest depressed people".

Some of these chants are similar to those heard during 2015's anti-government protests.

"Our government is a government of thugs" and "down with the rule of the thieves" were some of the dominant slogans during the last round of demonstrations.

Updated: October 28, 2019 08:43 AM

SHARE

SHARE