LONDON: “Your smell has reached London,” read one sign held high by a Lebanese student studying in the British capital Sunday.
At noon in London, the area's Lebanese diaspora held a demonstration outside the Lebanese Embassy in solidarity with ongoing protests in Lebanon.
The Metropolitan Police said that over 1,000 students, adults and elderly people attended the protest calling for the resignation of the Lebanese government.
The slogans used were familiar to the Lebanese public: “The people want to overthrow the regime,” “Get out, government” and “Revolution” were among the most popular ones heard.
But the demonstration was not limited to chanting popular slogans. People took turns expressing passionate feelings on a mic connected to a big speaker.
“We want to return to our country with dignity,” one elderly woman said. “We are tired of being immigrants in foreign countries just to have some rights. Give us our rights so that we return to live in our homeland with our families.”
“Let us come back to our country!” another woman proclaimed, “Let us live. You have humiliated us!”
“Your lies are clear now,” said a man addressing the government. “You divided us with your sectarianism but you united us with your garbage.”
Saturday’s protests also included mass singing of the national anthem, as well as popular songs like Julia Boutros’ “We are the revolution” and Joseph Attieh’s “Lebanon will return.”
The police allowed the protests to stay on the street for two hours. After that, protesters marched to Hyde Park to continue the demonstration, despite the heavy rain.
At the park, there was also time given for some traditional Lebanese dabkeh.
Alexandra Badaoui, 23, told The Daily Star, “It’s our time to make a change. If this movement loses momentum, shame on us. The government has been failing us for decades. Enough is enough.”
The University College London student also said, “It’s nice to see that the community here is large enough that we can support our friends and family back home. It’s the first time I see so many Lebanese people put all their differences aside and put their identity as Lebanese people above anything else."
Solidarity demonstrations have taken place or are scheduled over the next few days in other European and North American cities, including
Los Angeles, Barcelona, Berlin, Toronto and Paris.
Demonstrations were held in New York and Montreal Friday with hundreds in attendance.