At the time of writing the introduction of this report (December 2019), the streets of many cities and towns across Lebanon are filled with protestors denouncing the corrupt leaders who parasited the sectarian political system, extracted public resources, and misappropriated foreign aid for their own gains. It is not the first time that the frail Lebanese political system is challenged, but it is the first time that the uprisings reach such unprecedented momentum, scope, and scale. Protestors are focused on socio-economic demands; requesting the return of stolen public money, an independent judiciary system that can hold corrupt rulers accountable and trace theft, an interim government that is able to restructure public debt in equitable ways while protecting the most vulnerable, and the organization of early and fair parliamentary elections. They are mobilized in the main Lebanese cities, from the North (Tripoli) to the South (Tyre, Nabatiyeh) to the Bekaa (Baalbeck) and, of course, in Beirut. Protestors’ profiles cut across class, sect, education, age, and gender. Women groups are very visible and vocal in the streets, and the presence of LGBTQ+ groups is also quite salient in the capital city. The scene is well occupied, in addition, by an array of groups that have been engaged in alternative oppositional politics for several years now, some of whom have participated in the municipal elections of 2016 and in the parliamentary elections of 2018 (and failed, except for one individual who became a member of parliament in 2018).
Authors: Diala Haidar, Mona Harb, Bernadette Daou, & Janine A. Clark
Publication Date: 2019
An Arabic version of this report is available here.