LEBANON – PROGRESS FOR PROTESTORS


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The Lebanese protests demanding a complete overhaul of a political system they deem as inefficient and corrupt continued on Sunday, as tens of thousands kept up a nationwide street movement that began on 17 October.

Facing the largest street protests since Lebanon’s independence in 1943, anger over a faltering economy on the verge of collapse with high unemployment, low-paying jobs, and rising costs for basic goods and services, Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned last Tuesday.

Two days later, the Trump administration announced it was not going ahead with $105 million in military aid to Lebanon and did not give a reason. 

The following day, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, the Shia Islamist political party that the U.S. has designated a terrorist group, stated in a television speech that a new government must be formed right away, which takes into account the demands of protesters. 

Banks have reopened after being shut down for two weeks due to the widespread anti-government demonstrations.

On Sunday, a rally was organized as a show of support for President Michel Aoun, who is now Lebanon’s top government leader after the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri.  In a speech over the weekend, President Aoun said a plan was drawn to deal with the country’s corruption and to reignite its economy.

Later that evening, however, thousands took to the streets and blocked major roads in defiance of Aoun’s call for patience.  Many of the demonstrators made it clear they want a total overhaul of the corrupt government including the resignation of Aoun.

The repetitive chant could be heard, “All of them means all of them.”

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