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'Topple the regime': Students take centre stage in Lebanon's anti-government protests Open in fullscreen

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'Topple the regime': Students take centre stage in Lebanon's anti-government protests

Thousands of students hit the streets across Lebanon. [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 November, 2019

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Holding Lebanese flags and chanting the national anthem, students called for the toppling of the current regime and holding officials accountable for corruption and theft of public funds.

Thousands of students hit the streets across Lebanon on Thursday to demand a change to the country's ruling elite as unprecedented anti-government protests entered their fourth week.

Holding Lebanese flags and chanting the national anthem and songs, they called for the toppling of the current regime and holding officials accountable for corruption and theft of public funds.

It was the second day of student protests.

On Wednesday, students protested outside the ministry and various schools and universities across the country.

"I challenge any politician or official to send their children to state schools," one pupil told a local television channel.

"The economy is in trouble, there is no work, how will we survive in the future?"

Groups of students gathered elsewhere in Beirut and in other cities, the latest boost to a mobilisation that has been relentless since the protests erupted on 17 October.

[Click to enlarge]

Students in the coastal towns of Jounieh and Chekka gathered in front of the gates of the national telecommunications operator to block access, the state-run National News Agency reported.

"Against the confessionalism, against the sectarianism, against the dictatorship, we want a revolution," some students chanted.

The rallies have created a rare moment of national unity in a country often characterised by its divisions. 

People of all ages and sects have gathered daily to demand better services, a crackdown on corruption and the wholesale removal of an elite they say has been ruling Lebanon like a cartel for decades.

What started as a spontaneous, apolitical and leaderless popular movement, is becoming increasingly organised, with activists coming together to synchronise marches and stunts across the country.

Protesters are calling for the formation of a technocrat government that would get to work immediately on addressing Lebanon's economic crisis.

Lebanon, one of the most heavily indebted countries in the world, was already dealing with a severe fiscal and economic crisis before the protests began, rooted in years of heavy borrowing and expensive patronage networks run by entrenched political parties.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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