BEIRUT – Hundreds of activists and ordinary citizens are flocking to central Beirut to commemorate the third anniversary of the start of widespread protests that erupted just as the country’s worst economic crisis has ever hit Lebanon. On social networks and among political activists, thousands of people have met for this popular anti-government mobilization, known as “thawra” (revolution in Arabic). The demonstrators gathered in Riad el Solh Square, the symbolic place where the anti-government sit-in took place in 2019. From there, they marched to Martyrs’ Square, another historic site of protests against the ruling political class . This elite has been accused by multiple sources of being primarily responsible for poor governance and corruption. Tonight there will be a march from Martyrs’ Square towards the Parliament District, not far away but well protected by a line of police in riot gear and barbed wire.
Lebanon declared financial default in March 2020. The local Lebanese pound has lost more than 95% of its value against the US dollar in three years, which is now worth 40,000 pounds (in 2019 it was 1,507) on black market. Another rally was convened next Thursday, still in the center of Beirut, it will correspond to the third parliamentary session for the election of the President of the Republic. The current head of state, the disputed Michel Aoun, ends his mandate on October 31.