Lebanon News

Day 52: Protesters ramp up demonstrations

Organizers of the Revolution Bus in Sidon, Dec. 7, 2019. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: The 52nd day of nationwide protests was marked by a Revolution Bus setting out from Kfar Roummane in south Lebanon towards Tripoli, where its passengers hope to end their journey later on Saturday.

A convoy of cars filled with protesters followed the bus.

The state-run National News Agency reported that the aim of the Revolution Bus was to spread the message of "national unity" and that Lebanon is for all sects.

Protesters greeted the bus en route in Sidon, Downtown Beirut and then Jal al-Dib before making its way to Tripoli.

In the Minyeh-Dinnieh town of Beddawi, students organized a march to close all public schools and technical institutes in the area. The students blocked roads in protest against the situation in the country.

In Beirut, following a flashmob by women marching against sexual harassment, a man poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire. Protesters close to him put out the flames, whilst other demonstrators were seen calling for assistance. The man was taken away in an ambulance to Geitaoui Hospital in Ashrafieh. Lebanon's Civil Defense later announced that the man sustained moderate burns.

President Michel Aoun has called for binding parliamentary consultations at Baabda Palace, in order for lawmakers to designate a prime minister.

Saad Hariri resigned from his position as premier over a month ago.

Protesters have taken to the streets to voice their rejection of prominent businessman Samir Khatib as the next prime minister. Khatib is the frontrunner to be designated on Monday.

In Tripoli, protesters spoke to local media, expressing their frustrations.

Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have been protesting since Oct. 17, expressing frustration with rampant corruption and the failure of ruling elite to address the nation's problems.

Demonstrators have demanded an overhaul of the decades-old sectarian political system, the formation of a government of independent experts and early parliamentary elections.

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