Following the decision made by the Ministry of Education to resume school, students have refused to return and have instead joined the protests.
“We are missing our lessons so we can teach you one”, read a placard raised by a girl who is missing school to join the protests in Lebanon. Young people in the country are concerned about their future and so they have taken it upon themselves to join the protest movement in the hope that it will bring them a brighter future.
“Our country comes before school. We are learning, but where are we heading? What about our future?” said one student who joined the protests.
“An hour ago, they called on us to enter school, but we are staying here and we will not leave!” exclaimed another.
As with the protests over the past few weeks, students joining the demonstrations are doing so all across the country, from the north, to the capital Beirut, to the south.
Young people in Lebanon are feeling the pressures of the economy as they see their parents finding it difficult to make ends meet, a stress that is being passed on to the children. Youth unemployment stands at around 30%, with many choosing to find opportunities abroad.
The supposed apolitical and cross-sectarian nature of the protests have attracted the youth and students who are keen to foster a society free from the previous decades of sectarian strife. This young generation has been brought up outside of the context of the Lebanese Civil War, which hardened sectarian boundaries that were further reinforced in the confessional nature of government formed thereafter.
These protests have brought in other sectors of society that have otherwise felt marginalised from the political process, including the youth as well as women and people holding underrepresented political ideas.
The country has already experienced a series of other disruptions, aside from the closure of schools, including the blocking of roads, banks and businesses as a result of the demonstrations. These initiatives have thus far been successful in forcing a response by the political authorities to enact changes.