Lebanon News

Picnics, art, demonstrations mark day 32 of uprising

People wave the Lebanese flags as they attend a protest in Beirut, Nov. 17, 2019. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The nationwide uprising, which began on Oct. 17, is not nearing an end, with people gathering for picnics, painting and demonstrations across the country.

Dozens of artists in Downtown Beirut painted on canvases near the Azarieh building Sunday morning.

"We're here painting the Lebanese people's dreams," one artist said.

Meanwhile, a group of people ate breakfast outside the Jiyyeh power plant, in protest against pollution and low electricity production.

Dozens joined a group of demonstrators who have been protesting a planned dam in the south Lebanon's Bisri Valley for a picnic.

The protesters passed security points blocking the valley earlier this month and have said they will not leave until the Bisri dam project is canceled.

The dam, funded by the World Bank, aims to create a 125-million-cubic-meter reservoir.

The project has been heavily opposed by environmental groups, which cite issues related to biodiversity, cultural heritage, public health, the local economy and seismic activity. The World Bank says the project would benefit more than 1.6 million people living in the greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon areas.

Moving north, the highway at Bohssas, near Tripoli, remained blocked. Protesters said they will not open the road until their demands are met.

A large demonstration against corruption was held on the streets of Tripoli around noon.

In Barr Elias in the Bekaa, people cleaned a tunnel that had previously been blocked, removing dirt and remnants of burned tires.

People also planned to gather in squares across the country in the afternoon to mark “Sunday of the Martyrs.”

Alaa Abou Fakher, who was allegedly shot by an Army Intelligence member last week, and Hussein Attar, who was killed by a civilian on Oct. 19, are now widely referred to as the “martyrs of the revolution.”

Since the start of the uprising, a full month ago, hundreds of thousands of people have called for an overhaul of the decades-old sectarian political system, the resignation of the government and the formation of a technocratic one, along with parliamentary elections and an early end to President Michel Aoun’s three-year-old term.

Saad Hariri resigned from his post as prime minister on Oct. 29, bringing down the government with him. He and the Cabinet are now acting in a caretaking capacity.

 

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