The Lebanese mark the first anniversary of their “revolution”

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The Lebanese mark on Saturday the first anniversary of their popular protest movement, which shook the political elite, but failed to initiate real reforms.

Three heads of government have resigned since the movement began a year ago, but the main political figures still hold power despite pressure in Lebanon and internationally.

Protestants are scheduled to demonstrate at 3:00 p.m. local time on Saturday towards the port of Beirut, where a powerful explosion on August 4 left more than 200 dead and more than 6,500 injured.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 6:07 p.m., the precise time of the explosion, the responsibility of which is largely attributed to the negligence of the authorities.

Protesters also installed a statue near the site of the blast to mark the anniversary of the October 17 “revolution”.

“We still don’t see” our political leaders as legitimate, said Melissa, 42, who is very involved in the movement. “We are still in the street (…), together against the corrupt government”.

The protests began in the fall of 2019 over a government plan to tax calls via the Whatsapp app, then turned into a national movement of unprecedented scale to demand a complete overhaul of the political class. in power for decades and seen as incompetent and corrupt.

The country faces the worst economic crisis since the civil war (1975-1990) and more and more Lebanese are sinking into poverty, unemployment and hunger, pushing many of them to try their luck abroad .

The country is also not spared by the novel coronavirus epidemic, which has prompted authorities to ban demonstrations and public gatherings. But even with a weakened mobilization capacity, many argue that resentment has only increased.

“Year II of the thaoura”, headlines on the front page of the French-language daily L’Orient-Le Jour, using the Arabic word meaning “revolution” and used by the majority of Lebanese to refer to the protest movement.

In Tripoli (north), nicknamed “the bride of the revolution” for the enthusiasm of its inhabitants in the protest, the rallies began on Friday evening.

“We salute our revolution which, we believe, still continues and will not die until our demands are met,” said Taha Ratl, a 37-year-old protester.

“We want them all to leave,” he added, referring to the leaders.

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