Demonstrations on an 'Angry Sunday'

Protests continue as demonstrators have yet to believe the steps the government is taking are appeasing their demands.
by Fatima Dia and Manal Makkieh

8 December 2019 | 22:00

Source: by Annahar

Lebanese protesters shout slogans as they march in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo).

BEIRUT: Demonstrators filled the streets of Riad el Solh on the 53rd day of protests, under the title “Angry Sunday." From the saddening suicide cases of the last two weeks to a sense of constant insufficiency, protesters continue feeling fed up, as they told Annahar. 

“People are being shocked by the situation and they’re being mocked by the government, a reason that made people call it an Angry Sunday,” said a protester.

Citizens protested Monday’s Parliamentary Consultation amid controversies within the government regarding the naming of engineer Samir El-Khatib for Prime Minister. The consultations were postponed later during the day.

Protesters claimed that even though it’s been 53 days of protests, politicians are still enforcing notions of sectarianism on the citizens.

“They [the politicians] are not permitting anyone to communicate with them, especially those independent candidates who are willing to serve the country to communicate with them,” explained Jamal Abou el Hosn.

In addition, the last two weeks saw a series of tragic events, where four people died of suicide because of their distressful situation, combined with the deteriorating state of the country’s economy.

“[The suicide cases that have been happening] increase the anger a lot, and you feel a lot of pain,” said one of the protesters. “Every time you feel pain for someone, it makes you want to go down to the streets more. And those who are sitting on their chairs who are completely insensitive, are still not doing anything.” She added that there should be a collective responsibility to help others not feel so hopeless, saying “all of us should at least do the minimum.”

A 2018 Internal Security Forces report in Lebanon stated that every two and a half days one person dies of suicide in the country, and the approximate rate of suicide cases in the past 10 years is 119 per year. Protesters felt strongly that the politicians’ refusal to act and the country’s inability to de-stigmatize issues of mental health are a major drive for why they were on the street today.

“The suicide rate is rapidly increasing day by day and our politicians are still numb as they have no sense of mercy towards the people,” said Abou el Hosn, a Lebanese Composer and one of the protesters. “This makes me even more surprised when seeing the UN and human rights organizations refraining from interfering.”

Grander scale events in the last two weeks were coupled with smaller personal occurrences, also triggering anger in protesters, as the situation in the country continues to force people out of jobs, falling deeper into the loop of economic regression.

“Last week I cried in front of 10 employees because I had to let them go,” shared Ragheed Gharzeddine. “We closed the doors for 10 families, and these 10 families feed 20 other ones. I think about fighting for the 30, 40 families that are still employed and are taking care of another 30 or 40 families. International companies who invest here don’t want to anymore, and can’t invest anymore. You see your relative or your cousin, or your neighbor, they’re not getting their salaries, or are fired.”

Protests continue as demonstrators have yet to believe the steps the government is taking are appeasing their demands.

“At the end, someone should come and clean up this mess,” said Ghazreddine.

And to the protesters, so far, the government isn’t doing it.

Zeinab Hamdar and Nassab Helal contributed to this article.

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