Protests in Lebanon over the past week are continuing to see momentum as demonstrators insist on staying on the streets to voice their demands.
The recent protests across Lebanon have seen people express their grievances about the state of the national economy and the rampant corruption in the country, especially in relation to those holding political power.
These protests have now seen a political response from the Lebanese Government. Saad Hariri announced that he is giving himself and the Lebanese Government a 72-hour deadline on Friday to agree on a set of reforms aimed at appeasing the demands of the protesters. The reforms that the Government is seeking to introduce political reforms, which will include the a 50% cut off ministers’ salaries as well as the provision of power around the clock. Hariri has announced that the implementation of these reforms is coming as a result of the protests and in response to the demands of the people.
Mainstream media has portrayed the protests as being a reaction to a proposed tax that was supposed to be levied on the use of voice messaging applications, such as Whats App. However, people who have joined the demonstrations have noted that grievances run a lot deeper:
“We demand that nobody ridicule our movement. The Lebanese people are aware and the moment has come to express ourselves against those who are corrupt and against anyone seeking to sabotage the country and seize its potential. It is shameful to say that it’s a Whats App revolution”, commented a protester in Beirut.
Deteriorating economic conditions in Lebanon have been reported frequently over the past year. Thus, the outbreak of these protests does not come as a surprise. This is not the first time this month that protests have broken out in Lebanon due to the deteriorating economic conditions. Demonstrations took place at the start of October where people came out to the streets to voice their concerns about the economy. There has been a sense of brewing frustration among the Lebanese people with regards to economic reforms, that have been extremely slow to be implemented and to bear any fruit.