In Lebanon, the younger generation shouts its distress in the street

The lack of prospects fuels the challenge, threatened by overflows and political recoveries.

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Tear gas fired on demonstrators in Beirut on October 18, 2019.
Tear gas fired on protesters in Beirut on October 18, 2019. MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS

They are called Malek, Rim, Houssam, Nour, Hussein, they are not 30 years old and already so few hopes. Some work hard to finance their studies, others see their friends emigrate to escape unemployment, others still can not stand, just to live resigned. To be forced to become accustomed, like the generation of their parents, to the fact that power and water cuts last thirty years after the end of the war, that a piston of a politician is necessary to enter the public service, or even to be cared for, when one is deprived.

So, in the heart of Beirut, for the second consecutive day of protests, Friday, October 18, they came to hold accountable to those who steal their dreams. "A political class of brigands! The same in power for thirty years! ", Nour ton. "Managers who spend their time giving us promises and not keeping them. They have dismembered the economy of the country, adds Lynn.

They are among the thousands of Lebanese who took to the streets on Friday, shouting "Revolution! " There are also other generations, families, white heads, exasperated by years of political neglect. Surprising everyone, the spark left Thursday night, when the government announced its intention to impose new taxes, including on the WhatsApp application, a messaging widely used, when mobile communications are so expensive. But WhatsApp is just an excuse. For weeks, months, the concern is rising: the economy is stagnant, the financial system is threatening to implode.

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" Snowball "

On several occasions, the Lebanese national anthem is sung, welcoming the unity of the moment, beyond confessions and social differences. Protesters have come with a broom in their hands: it is on the political scene that they want to clean up. For those under the age of 30, some are taking to the streets for the first time. "I can not hope to get engaged, I have no chance to get a visa to emigrate, I work to pay for my studies and I do not even know if I'll have a job …", is moved Hussein, 24 years old.

Around 6 pm, the crowd grew more massive, at the two adjoining assembly points, that of the iconic Martyrs' Square, and that of the Riad El-Solh Square, below the seat of government. Prime Minister Saad Hariri then speaks in a televised speech that is followed outside on mobile phones. In a serious tone, he calls into question the " obstacles ", that he imputes to members of his coalition cabinet, to carry out "Reforms". He gives seventy-two hours to the team to change the game. No resignation, not for the moment anyway. In the crowd, Emilio, a 27-year-old unemployed engineer, is not really surprised. "I do not expect the movement to bend the political system. But, at least, the protest grows little by little, like a snowball, he said.


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