the people of Lebanon united against their leaders

Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in an exceptional drive of fervor and unity. The government is due to unveil on Monday a reform plan.

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Demonstration against the government, in Beirut, Sunday, October 20th.
Demonstration against the government, in Beirut, Sunday, October 20th. MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS

The Lebanese celebrated their national holiday a few weeks ahead of schedule this year. On Sunday, October 20, hundreds of thousands of them took to the streets of their country, in an exceptional drive of fervor and unity. In Beirut, Tripoli, Saïda and Tire, huge crowds, social classes, ages and religions varied, have claimed, for the fourth day in a row, the resignation of their government, accused of negligence and of corruption. Assemblies overflowing with pride and joy, a thousand miles from the formalism of the official national holiday of Lebanon, celebrated on November 22, date of the end of the French mandate in 1943.

"It's been so long since we did not meet all together, it's a happiness"exults Rami, a young Christian, part of a pharmaceutical company, who holds his sisters by the hand not to lose them in the human tide that invades the place of Martyrs, in central Beirut. The latest massive demonstration on the capital dates back to 2005, a mobilization of nearly one million people that led to the departure of Syrian occupation troops.

"Our anger brings us closer, we find ourselves talking to people who we would never have spoken in normal times, we dropped the wall of confessional fears," ignites Christina, a schoolgirl enrolled in a posh establishment, trying to cover the noise of music spewed by huge speakers perched on a truck.

This exuberant reunion is the response of the Lebanese people to decades of government mockery, paralysis and nepotism. Never before has the population felt so painfully the gap between the glamorous image of Lebanon and the reality of everyday life, marked by a poverty rate of 35%, repeated shortages of water and electricity and infrastructures. in decay.

"Government of technocrats"

Never has the confiscation of power since the end of the civil war in 1990 by the same clique of former militia chiefs turned into notorious businessmen, seemed so indecent. And never the horizon of the new generation seemed so sealed, between unemployment to 20% or 30%, dictatorship of the wasta (piston), and dearness of the generalized life.


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