Lebanese citizens fill the streets two days in a row

What happens tonight is anyone’s guess.
by Ryme Alhussayni and Christy-Belle Geha

18 October 2019 | 13:24

Source: by Annahar

Anti-government protesters shout slogans against the Lebanese government in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT: Thousands of disgruntled Lebanese in multiple cities called Friday for the resignation of the government as demonstrations carried on for the second day in Downtown, Beirut. 

What happens tonight is anyone’s guess.

Groups have already gathered for another large scale protest in Martyr Square set for later this afternoon. Various districts are planned to voice people's dissatisfaction with the dire economy, lack of services, and a seemingly indifferent political class.

Schools, universities, and banks are closed while main roads between Beirut and Tripoli are blocked by burning tires.

Protests on Thursday coincided with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a cause many Lebanese resonate with as unemployment hovers near the 30 percent mark. 

“The government must resign and call for early elections. They must also return almost 80 billion dollars of stolen public funds,” Ramzi Khatib, a protester who expressed hope in this movement, told Annahar.

As riots turned violent in the late hours of Friday night, security forces used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, leading to a number of injuries on both sides. Flames also engulfed the streets of Beirut, with two foreign workers reportedly choked to death from a fire that spread to a building near the protest, according to the NNA. 

Slogans of "people want to overthrow the regime” and “Lebanon’s insurrection” echoed through the streets and enraged protesters described officials as “thieves.”

Mohamed Najdi, a student, "never felt more connected and proud of his compatriots," telling Annahar that protestors won't "leave before the government resigns."

Elie Waked, another student, told Annahar that he made the arduous trip from "Jezzine to protest against all of them.”

“They won’t stop us this time and we're not afraid of tear gas, bullets or beatings,” he added.

TV presenter Hicham Haddad posted on his Twitter account pictures and videos of him participating in the protests and called on all Lebanese to participate, saying: "Whoever loves Lebanon should come to Riad al Solh Square."

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