Lebanon: parade in Beirut marked anniversary of revolt

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Several hundred marched in Beirut on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the popular uprising against the country’s political elite, accused of corruption and incompetence. The demonstrators rallied to the Place des Martyrs, the epicenter of the protest, before marching through the capital.

Waving Lebanese flags and lighted torches, they then converged in the evening towards the port to commemorate the August 4 explosion, which left more than 200 dead and 6,500 injured. On the way, they observed a minute of silence.

A metal sculpture of a torch, on which was engraved in Arabic “revolution of October 17” was then lit at 6:07 p.m. (5:07 p.m. French time), the exact time at which Beirut fell into hell on August 4.

“October 17, 2020, the day the spark became a flame that will not go out. We will continue until the last breath […] we will continue the revolution, ”one of the organizers of the march, Sami Saab, told the assembly.

Protesters marched from Place des Martyrs to the port / AFP

“For a year, we have been in the street to bring social and economic demands, and nothing has changed,” said a septuagenarian met on the Place des Martyrs, Abed Sabagh. “Our demand is the change of the corrupt political class, which continues to compete for posts and seats,” he hammered.

Since the start of the protest on October 17, 2019, two governments have resigned. But it is the same politicians, the same parties and the same patrician families who still monopolize power, often former civil war lords (1975-1990).

Despite the demands of the movement, nothing has changed at the head of the country and the situation has even worsened / AFP.
Despite the demands of the movement, nothing has changed at the head of the country and the situation has even worsened / AFP.

Originally, the dispute erupted over a government tax on the use of WhatsApp, a measure the authorities quickly removed. The uprising then spread across the country, illustrating widespread fed-up with a sclerotic system, virtually non-existent public services, conspired leaders and a failing economy.

Over the past year, the situation has worsened with a collapse of the national currency and draconian banking restrictions on withdrawals and transfers abroad. Added to this are tens of thousands of layoffs and wage cuts in a country where now half the population lives in poverty. The difficulties have been accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Original article by : www.leparisien.fr

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