Now Beirut, Lebanon
Chile, Ecuador, Catalunya, and Beirut Lebanon
From the article:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Cities across Lebanon rang with antigovernment chants and smoldered with burning roadblocks as thousands of people around the country protested against their leaders on Friday, the second day in a row that frustrations over chronic corruption and dysfunction spilled into the streets.
Protesters massed outside the government palace in downtown Beirut and marched on the presidential palace in Baabda, blocked the airport road and burned posters of politicians from Tripoli in the north to Tyre in the south — Christians, Muslims and religious minorities alike. In downtown Beirut, trucks loaded with huge speakers blasted upbeat patriotic songs and the national anthem. “Revolution! Revolution!” people chanted. “The people want the fall of the regime.”
. . . The Lebanese have had no shortage of things to protest in recent years, with a barren economy that forces many young people to leave the country for good jobs, with landfills and beaches overflowing with trash and with the government perpetually deadlocked over reforms. But the last month has brought more than its usual share of indignities: a faltering currency, crises over wheat and gas and, earlier this week, forest fires for which the government was so unprepared that it was forced to turn to its neighbors for firefighting help.
. . . On Thursday evening, the government announced a tax on calls made using popular internet messaging services including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and FaceTime, a measure it said would help raise revenue amid a fiscal crisis. For many Lebanese, who already pay some of the highest mobile service rates in the region — there are only two telecom companies in the country, both state-owned — this was going too far.
. . . The protesters’ disdain for Lebanon’s leaders seemed omni-partisan. In Sunni-dominated areas, people tore down posters of Mr. Hariri, the country’s most powerful Sunni. In largely Shiite parts of southern Lebanon, they chanted against Nabih Berri, the Shiite speaker of Parliament, whose popularity usually goes unquestioned, and in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut they attacked the offices of Hezbollah members of Parliament. Outside the government palace in Beirut on Friday evening, a chanting crowd alternately mocked Mr. Hariri and Gebran Bassil, the foreign minister and a leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian party.