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Lebanon is experiencing a social revolution

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20.10.2019

Since October 17, Lebanese citizens from all walks of life have been taking to the streets in unprecedented protests that transcend not only sectarian lines but also class and regional ones.

What unites the protesters are demands for the Lebanese cabinet, which was formed in January of this year, to resign. For the past 10 months, it has failed to save Lebanon from a worsening financial crisis predominantly caused by government mismanagement and corruption that predated its formation.

By the second day of demonstrations, protesters were beginning to characterise their actions as a revolution. While it is not yet known whether the protests will result in a political revolution, they already illustrate a remarkable social one.

In 2005, Lebanon witnessed the so-called Cedar Revolution, when people demonstrated in huge numbers against the Syrian military occupation of their country. But the protests then did not call for a change in the country's political system, which remains dominated by the political leaders of Lebanon's various sects.

The 2005 protests were driven by the political party of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, father of the current prime minister, Saad Hariri, and its allies, who opposed the Syrian regime. That led to counter-protests orchestrated by pro-Syrian Hezbollah and its allies.

As such, political parties were the main mobilisers of the 2005 protesters. Although each of the rival political camps had followers from different sects, Hariri's support base was primarily........

© Al Jazeera