Protesters are out on the streets again in Lebanon, demonstrating against the new government formed under Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
Hundreds were injured in clashes with security forces in recent days, as the country remains mired by deteriorating economic conditions, a worsening dollar shortage, and political deadlock.
Demonstrations began on October 17, 2019, after the government announced they would begin taxing WhatsApp. The tax was quickly repealed, but the protests evolved into a cross-sectarian call for a new government comprised of technocrats.
The protesters have largely rejected Diab’s new government, announced on Tuesday, and used myriad tactics to block roads, including moving furniture into the streets and holding yoga sessions in key intersections near downtown Beirut.
The first 90 days of the protests remained largely peaceful, with Lebanese attempting to form a human chain along the coast from north to south and a DJ in the northern city Tripoli performing for large crowds in the city center.
However, there have been tense moments between protesters and security forces, with the latter using force to clear roads. Thugs from the Shia Amal movement and Iranian-backed Hezbollah have also clashed with protesters across the country.
On the weekend, the protests took a dramatic turn, resulting in nearly 400 injured, scores detained, and a marked shift in the mood in Beirut.
Here are Al Arabiya English’s top 10 viral videos from the protests:
1. “Kick Queen”
On the first night of protests, Malak Alaywe, dubbed the “kick queen” hits an armed ministerial guard in the groin. The video goes viral overnight, and an illustration of the kick becomes an icon of the protests.
2. Security forces get violent
Unprecedented violence broke out in Beirut following a “week of rage” in Lebanon as protesters clashed with security forces, leaving nearly 400 injured.
3. Police fire tear gas
Parliamentary police use teargas against protesters during clashes near Nijmeh Square and near the street that leads to the Lebanese Parliament in central Beirut in mid-December.
4. Hezbollah and Amal thugs
After the first week of protests, Shia Amal movement and Iranian-backed Hezbollah supporters on motorbikes brandishing their groups’ flags arrive in central Beirut. The Lebanese army prevents them from reaching the anti-government protesters.
5. Baby Shark
During a night of heavy protest, driver Eliane Jabbour and her toddler were surrounded by a group of demonstrators. Jabbour asked protesters to let their car pass because her child was afraid, a group of men broke out into a rendition of “Baby Shark” to soothe the toddler.
6. Raving in Tripoli
In Lebanon’s north in Tripoli, a DJ performed from a balcony for a large group of protesters in a city square.
7. Dabke in Nabatieh
Videos throughout the duration of the protests have emerged of protesters dancing and singing in the streets. In this video, demonstrators dance the Dabke in the southern city of Nabatiyeh.
Other unique tactics to block roads included bringing furniture and setting up a living room, complete with desk and refrigerator, where protesters hung out during the early days of the protests.
9. Human chain
Tens of thousands of Lebanese formed a 171-kilometer-long human chain throughout the country from Tripoli in the north down to Tyre in the south, demonstrating the cross-sectarian nature of the protests.
10. Yoga roadblock
The Lebanese protesters used clever tactics to shut down key roads in Beirut. In this video, demonstrators hold a yoga class at the ring road bridge near central Beirut.