Since October, Lebanon has been in a state of upheaval amidst its escalating protests. Demonstrators have been fed up with the economy, the poor infrastructure, the rise in unemployment, and the high taxes because of government corruption and the impending economic crisis. Lebanon is severely in debt and now that the former president has stepped down, a new cabinet has been established in an act to tackle the crushing weight of the country’s many crises.
The new government consists of 20 ministers. Most of the new ministers are made of up of independent experts in their domain that claim to have no relation to any sectarian political groups.
However, many MPs are hostile towards the new Cabinet as most are accused of being affiliates of Hezbollah as well as their allies. Hezbollah (an Iranian backed militia group with a large power within Lebanon) are seen as a terrorist organization by countries such as the United States. An issue facing the government under the hand of groups like Hezbollah is the difficulty to secure funds from the international community, which the country desperately needs if they want to tackle their high debt.
Multiple protesters are also unsatisfied with the cabinet and cynical towards their promise of rescuing the economy and feel as if they have failed to meet their promise for reform.
In the wake of this, protesters have grown more enraged and have driven to riots. Some of the biggest demonstrations include tearing down the iron gates outside the prime minister’s office, tearing down barricades put up around the seat of the Parliament and even setting a bank on fire next to its entry.
These riots have been met by opposing riot police using water cannons as well as tear gas to immobilise rioters.
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 10 on February 26th, 2020