Anti-government protest resurface in Lebanon

Anti-establishment protests continue today in Beirut. Frustrated by the state of the economy and the system of government, tens of

lebanon protests

Photo: Rita Kabalan

Anti-establishment protests continue today in Beirut. Frustrated by the state of the economy and the system of government, tens of thousands have taken to the streets since October 17. The protesters are demand a re-write of the electoral law, early parliamentary elections and a cabinet comprised of independent ministers.

Lebanon’s economy is in dire straits. The country is ranked 138th out of 180 countries for corruption, its budget deficit for 2019 hit 11% and the World Bank has warned that the worsening economy could lead to the poverty rate reaching 50%.

With the protests moving from disruptive to violent this week—demonstrators threw fireworks and stones at security forces, who responded with tear gas—pressure is on newly assigned PM Hassan Diab to form a government.

Backed by Hezbollah, Diab is hardly a prime minister welcomed by the protesters. The Iran-backed Hezbollah already holds the presidency and a majority of seats; Diab’s appointment makes parliament even more pro-Iranian.

As Diab holds talks with leaders affiliated with Lebanon’s main political parties, do not expect the protesters’ high demands to be met. Also, expect Iran to wield greater political influence over Lebanon moving forward.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.