Protests have been sweeping the Middle East and North Africa this last year. In Lebanon they are largely about corruption, austerity and financial instability, which has its roots in a neighbouring civil war and a drop in foreign investment and remittances from the Lebanese diaspora. Since Donald Trump became US president, tougher sanctions against Lebanese banks accused of links to Hizbullah have weighed on the economy, where banking is central.
Behind Lebanon’s protests
Paris, Jan.6.– Lebanon's telecommunications minister Mohammad Choucair decided on 17 October 2019 to introduce a tax of $2 a month — the ‘WhatsApp tax’ — on all free apps for mobile phones. That evening hundreds of young people, many among Lebanon’s poorest, demonstrated in major cities.
The next day they blocked the main roads and held sit-ins in symbolic spots such as Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square. The government shut down its offices, universities and state schools, paradoxically encouraging even more to take to the streets. The closure of Lebanon’s banks for two weeks from the start of the protests fuelled the anger, as depositors were denied access to their money.Add a comment Leer más...