Anti-Dam protesters protest the Cabinet’s decision

The Save Bisri campaign is trying to convey this message to both the government and the World Bank which funds this project.
by Sandra Abdelbaki

14 April 2020 | 17:47

Source: by Annahar

  • by Sandra Abdelbaki
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 14 April 2020 | 17:47

Activists tied to the trees in the Bisri Valley on Monday, April 14, 2020. (Courtesy of Environmental activists)

BEIRUT: Following the Cabinet’s decision to resume with the Bisri Dam project, environmentalists and activists protested this decision on Monday using the slogan “over our dead bodies”. 

Anti-Dam protesters from different areas in Lebanon gathered in the Bisri Valley and tied themselves to the trees holding banners stating “over our dead bodies” and “stop funding big dams”. The Save Bisri campaign is trying to convey this message to both the government and the World Bank which funds this project.

“This Dam will result in several environmental and ecological dangers and we can’t allow that. We will keep on voicing our concerns until this project fails,” Saada Alawi, Head of the Journalism Department at Legal Agenda and Civil Society activist,  told Annahar. “There is no way this Dam will be implemented as long as we’re still here.”

The protesters were small in number due to the government’s social distancing measures. The protesters, however, threatened to break their home quarantine and protest in big numbers if the government continues damaging this Valley which is considered the only agricultural plain in Mount Lebanon.

This Dam has proved through several studies that it will fail to provide Greater Beirut with the water needed and will only increase the government’s debt and threaten Lebanon’s environment. It will also result in an “environmental genocide” and higher chances of earthquakes putting the lives of citizens at risk.

The activists plan on continuing pressuring the government and voicing their opinions to the World Bank as well through online campaigning and constant protesting in the Valley.

“If the government decides to bring back its bulldozers to this Valley, we will come back and with bigger numbers,” Nisrine Khattar Bou Hamdan, an environmental activist, said. “We are ready to pressure the government with all means possible.”

Following the decision of the cabinet, four municipalities including Mazraat El Chouf, Bater, Bsaba and Ammatour issued official statements stating the withdrawal of their consent and support to the Bsiri Dam project.

To know more about the activities of the Save Bisri campaign, you can follow them online through their Facebook page: Save the Bisri Valley.

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