BEIRUT: Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Beirut Sunday to call for women’s rights and improved living conditions in Lebanon on the heels of International Women’s Day.
Women, migrant workers and supporters of Lebanon’s LGBTQ community were among those who demonstrated under the slogan “For a just economy, we will march” to mark International Women’s Day, which was officially celebrated on March 8.
The protest, which began at Beshara Khoury and moved toward Mina al-Hosn, was organized by a group of women’s rights NGOs and organizations.
The protest chants were led by, among others, members of the American University of Beirut’s Secular Club, who called for “revolution” against sexism, racism and homophobia.
The protesters also included domestic workers from the Migrant Community Center, who carried signs bearing slogans such as “We are humans, not animals” and “Kafala is modern day slavery.”
The kafala sponsorship system, which is widespread across the Arab world, ties workers to their employers, who are charged with their visa status, and has been widely criticized by human rights groups for facilitating exploitation and abuse.
After about an hour of marching, the women’s day protesters joined forces with another group of demonstrators calling for Lebanese women to be allowed to pass down their nationality to their children, which Lebanese men alone are currently able to do.