BEIRUT: After the announcement of reopening universities on the Lebanese revolution's 18th day, many university students found themselves unable to juggle schoolwork and protesting, so they decided to take action.
Over the past two days, the revolution has been witnessing the upheaval and participation of university and school students, who filled the streets of Beirut, Jounieh, Saida, Tripoli, and many more regions with a demand from the government to fasten the pace on the cabinet formation.
The American University of Science and Technology (AUST) announced its official closing yesterday, from October 6 until 12 “in the light of current conditions,” after a large number of students protested at its gates. The students continued to march towards Balamand University and Saint-Joseph University in an attempt to pressure other university administrations to close as well.
"After the decision to resume classes was declared, a large number of us students were defiant,” Ahmad Najdi, an AUST student told Annahar, “We as students see that as soon as the educational institutions open, they're trying to tell us life is back to normal and many parents will pressure students to get out of protests on ground," he added.
Today, the student revolution took a wider scale as it started at the lower gates of the Lebanese American University (LAU) with students chanting: “We will not continue our education before the corrupt system falls.” The students continued marching towards Haigazian University, which closed for the day, and then towards the American University of Beirut and finally reaching Riyad El Solh Square.
Lea Faqih, an LAU student told Annahar: “I personally asked the university if I could be absent due to my participation in the protests and they said I could. Later, professors sent me an email with exams, assignments, and presentation deadlines."
Faqih further noted that attending classes during the day and protesting during the night is not an option. We can't go to universities during the day and protest during the night.
"We have no solution for our futures except for protesting. We won't be negotiating with the university about any demands except for closing," she added.
The universities that took the official choice of closing in Beirut are still only AUST, Beirut Arab University, and Lebanese International University. As for other universities, classes and faculties remain open, causing many students to miss out on important material.
AUB’s Secular Club President, Dany Rachid, explained how the student’s inability to participate in important decision-making movements has influenced their protest.
On behalf of the Club, Rachid told Annahar: “We want our voices heard because they deserve to be. There’s a revolution happening in the country, and we are a group that has been active for 12 years, and we believe that the sectarian system oppresses us and simply doesn’t work.”
Mohammad Mazloum, a student, told Annahar: “We are students asking for education, not for war. It's our job as the rising generation to take back the power because it's our time. We want new faces and professionals to represent us and we definitely don't want to leave Lebanon."
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