Several hundred people gathered in downtown Beirut on Saturday to voice their opposition against new measures aimed at the unvaccinated in Lebanon, including unvaccinated civil servants being forced to take frequent PCR tests that many cannot afford.
The Guardian reported that the country of six million has recorded more than 760,000 cases and 9,250 deaths since the start of the outbreak. The protesters took to Martyrs Square to criticize the government for implementing the vaccine-or-test model for public sector workers.
“People can inject themselves with whatever chemicals they want until the end of time, but I don’t want to,” one 35-year-old woman told Al Jazeera.
The report pointed out that Beirut has not mandated the vaccine. Only 37 percent of the population has taken two doses of the vaccine.
“They want to force the vaccine, but which vaccine?” Roland Adwan, the vice president of a syndicate of workers’ unions that organized the protest, told the news outlet. “There was a first dose, then second dose, now third dose, and what’s next? A fifth dose?”
The country’s health minister told Al Jazeera that she was encouraged by the relatively small numbers of protesters compared to the 30,000 who arrived at health clinics to take a jab on the same day.
TREND FORECAST: As we have been reporting, Lebanon is in deep socioeconomic and political decline. See “LEBANON’S CURRENCY FALLS TO RECORD LOW, SPARKING UNREST,” 9 Mar 2021.
Inflation, hitting triple digits, is soaring, Gross Domestic Product plunged 37 percent last year, and an estimated three quarters of Lebanese live below the poverty line. EP reported that The World Bank said Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis may even hit the top three most severe crises globally since the 1850s.
Therefore, while some are playing down the significance of how many are protesting the vaccine mandates, the Lebanese crisis is far greater than COVID War implications. Indeed, considering its instability, it may well become a Middle East flashpoint for a military war… possibly with Israel. (See “ISRAEL BLAMES ROCKET ATTACK ON HEZBOLLAH, RESPONDS,” 10 Aug 2021.)