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Global Opinions

Lebanon’s protests are full of hope and joy — for now

Reuters

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Since Oct. 17, demonstrators have taken to the streets of Lebanon to protest the government’s economic policies. What started as a protest against a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls has rapidly developed into a wider movement calling for economic reforms and an end to government corruption.

Reuters

Omar Ibrahim/Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of people have marched in Beirut and other cities across the country.

Omar Ibrahim/Reuters

Ali Hashisho/Reuters

Unlike other anti-government movements around the globe that have been met with repression, Lebanon’s protests have been marked by hope and joy — thus far.

Ali Hashisho/Reuters

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Reuters

Joseph Eid/Afp Via Getty Images

Nabil Mounzer/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Joseph Eid/Afp Via Getty Images

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The Washington Post

Anwar Amro/Afp Via Getty Images

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The Washington Post

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

On Monday, protesters even gathered in downtown Beirut for an organized cleanup, in an effort to keep the city they love tidy.

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

In response to the protests, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave his government 72 hours to come up with reforms. On Monday, he announced an anti-corruption committee, halved officials’ salaries and said there would be no new taxes.

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Hassan Ammar/AP

But his proposals didn’t appease protesters, who have borne the brunt of the government’s negligent policies for years, including widespread power shortages, austerity and rampant unemployment.

Hassan Ammar/AP

The protests have led to the resignation of four cabinet ministers, including the deputy prime minister.

Hassan Ammar/AP

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Security forces have patrolled the streets of Beirut with rival political factions trying to channel the protests for their own ends.

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Anwar Amro/Afp Via Getty Images

The mood is still optimistic, but tensions are rising, and the protests show no sign of ending.

Anwar Amro/Afp Via Getty Images

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Reuters

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Will this be a “revolution,” as the protesters desire, or will the status quo prevail in the end?

Reuters