Human Rights

Lebanon: Roads in Beirut Reopened Following Protests

Middle East

The protesters have decided to allow the re-opening of some roads in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, as they demand the formation of a new government.

Roads in Beirut have reopened after two weeks of protests and following the resignation on Tuesday evening of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

Protesters around Beirut’s central Martyrs’ Square have agreed to remove some of the tents and blockades obstructing roads after requests from the security forces. However, many have said this will only be a limited removal unless demands are met amidst ongoing protests in numerous other areas nationwide.

“The army and security forces asked us to open the road and reduce the anger of the people,” said one protester, “but that does not mean that we gave up our demands”.

“We will open the road because we do not want to clash with them and we will give them only 48 hours to form a government,” said another protester. “If our demands are not met, we will take to the streets again.”

Protesters took to the streets earlier in October against new taxes that were set to be imposed on a number of goods, including a $0.20 tax on WhatsApp and other messaging apps.

More generally, protesters are riling against long-standing economic hardship, political instability, and an establishment elite that many view to be self-serving.

Despite the unblocking of part of Martyrs’ Square, protests are ongoing nationwide, with protesters pushing for further reforms.

On Thursday, schools were set to be reopened, although a decision – taken late on Wednesday evening – kept the schools closed for security reasons. Banks are also set to reopen on Friday.