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Students take to Lebanon streets

AFP/Beirut
Filed on November 8, 2019

(AFP file)

Students blocked off traffic to demand the wholesale removal of the current political class and its sectarian-based power-sharing system.

Thousands of students took to the streets across Lebanon on Thursday to demand a better future as anti-government protests now entering their fourth week continued to spread.

Pupils carrying their schoolbags picked up the baton from thousands of women who ignited the main protest site in Beirut on Wednesday evening by banging pots and pans to demand their rights.

In Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators planned to take down the giant portraits of politicians plastered all over the city's buildings.

Grievances initially focused on poor infrastructure and abysmal public services quickly grew into an unprecedented nationwide push to drive out an elite protesters say has ruled the country like a cartel for decades. Thousands of university and high school students streamed into the streets of Beirut and other towns to boost the protests.

"All of them, all of them are thieves," chanted one pupil, perched on the shoulders of a schoolmate outside the education ministry.

Setting off coloured flares and waving Lebanese flags, students blocked off traffic to demand the wholesale removal of the current political class and its sectarian-based power-sharing system. "What if we had a young, educated, ethical and competent political leadership?" was the question asked on one placard.

"We go to school, we work hard and in the end we pick up diplomas so we can just hang around and stay at home doing nothing," said Marwa Abdel Rahman, 16.


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