Following protests across the Arab World that took place in recent days, people are gathering as volunteers to clean up their streets.
Individuals have come out to the streets of their own free will in Lebanon and Tunisia to clean their public streets for the public good. Both countries have recently gone through groundbreaking developments that saw thousands of people line the streets for different reasons.
People have let go of their political and sectarian affiliations in both countries to come together and provide for the public good, without any support from governmental or non-governmental organisations.
“This initiative was not organized by groups or non-governmental organizations, it was an individual initiative. Yesterday, some people sent a message via Instagram encouraging people willing to volunteer to come to clean at 8 am”, notes Sandra Shawil, a volunteer in Beirut.
In Lebanon, protests have been ongoing for a number of days calling out the Lebanese Government on corruption and the deteriorating economic conditions in the country. Scenes of minor clashes between protesters and the Internal Security Forces, as well as burning of sites and blocking of roads, have been propagated on social media. These chaotic scenes have calmed over the past day as the Government has responded to protesters’ demands and has offered a reform package plan.
In Tunisia, the past few weeks have seen two rounds of both presidential and parliamentary elections. Campaigns run by the presidential candidates and running political parties were launched, bringing people to the streets to show their support throughout the process. These elections ended recently, with Qais Said coming out on top in the presidential elections, while Ennahda and Qalb Tunis recorded victories in the parliamentary elections.
The democratic credentials of both countries have been put to the test. The Lebanese demands have brought about a response from the Government, which is seeking to enact economic and political reforms, although wide-ranging structural changes are also being demanded. In Tunisia, the democratic electoral process has seen improvements, with demonstrations of respect towards the Constitution and electoral procedures.