• Thursday, Dec 12, 2019
  • Last Update : 08:40 am

Protesters see 'real independence' coming as Lebanon turns 76

  • Published at 11:34 pm November 22nd, 2019
Lebanon
A woman gestures while carriying a national flag during a protest at Martyrs' Square in Beirut Reuters

A man carried his child on his shoulders, while a another woman joined in the rhythm, using a spoon and metal coffee pot

Lebanon marked 76 years of self-rule Friday, with protesters kicking off festivities nationwide instead of a military parade to mark what they say is a first year of "real independence."

An unprecedented protest movement has gripped the small Mediterranean country since October 17, demanding the complete overhaul of politicians deemed inept and corrupt.

In west Beirut, protesters staged a small musical parade, banging percussion instruments, singing traditional songs and dancing.

"There are loads of marches but this one is the craziest. I hope this independence day will be a turning point," said Leila, a woman carrying cymbals in both hands.

"Previously, the politicians had been treading on our heads. Our pockets are still empty but we've have found a new dignity," she told AFP, before zipping back into the crowd.

A man carried his child on his shoulders, while a another woman joined in the rhythm, using a spoon and metal coffee pot.

On November 22, 1943, Lebanon achieved independence after 23 years under a French mandate, following a wave of demonstrations that brought together the country's Christians and Muslims.

But the country was ripped apart in the 1975-1990 civil war.

Two more foreign powers occupied the tiny multi-confessional country -- Israel from 1978 to 2000, and Syria from 1976 to 2005.

A post-war accord sought to share out power between Lebanon's various religious communities, but the country remained deeply divided along sectarian lines.