Thousands of Lebanese Students Took to Streets to Demand Better Future

Elias Hubbard
November 9, 2019

Students have even launched an Arabic hashtag dedicated to their walkouts titled "Students' Revolution", which has seen many share photos and videos of the protests happening in their surroundings. They have been holding demonstrations since October 17 demanding an end to widespread corruption and mismanagement by the political class that has ruled the country for three decades.

The cabinet has stayed on in a caretaker capacity but efforts to form a new line-up seem to be stalling, with each faction in the outgoing coalition seeking to salvage some influence.

President Michel Aoun has not yet set a date for consultations with heads of parliamentary blocs to name a new prime minister, the procedure that follows the resignation of a Cabinet.

Without quick steps to address the crisis, about half of Lebanon's population could fall into poverty and unemployment could "rise sharply", the lender said in a statement.

Protesters gathered outside the ex-premier's Beirut residence in the evening.

Petrol stations owners said they would meet Thursday over persistent difficulties in paying for hydrocarbon imports due to dollar shortages. Such cases against corruption have been rare before the protests.

Lebanon's Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim on Thursday charged General Director of Customs Badri al-Daher with the crime of squandering public funds, the National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Lebanon is ranked 138th out of 175 countries in Transparency International's 2018 corruption perceptions index, with key sectarian leaders accused of running demi-fiefdoms. The presidency said Aoun and Hariri discussed contacts aimed at solving "the current government situation".

Banks reopened on Friday after a two-week closure but customers have encountered restrictions on transfers out of the country and withdrawals of hard currency.

"O patriarchal powers, women's rights are not a footnote", they chanted.

In a country where weapons are widespread and leading political parties routinely resort to hired thugs, the protests - and attempts by the security forces to quell them - have been remarkably bloodless.

The most significant in the capital was around the Palace of Justice, where hundreds demanded an independent judiciary and an end to political interference, an AFP correspondent reported.

"What if we had a young, educated, ethical and competent political leadership?" was the question asked on one placard.

Across the country, hundreds of students skipped school, refusing to return to class until protest demands are met.

On pupil in Beirut asked Lebanese TV: "What will I do with a school-leaver's certificate if I don't have a country?"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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