Daniel Halliday
Oct 22 · Last update 14 days ago.

What is behind the protest movement in Lebanon?

Lebanon is a small divided country on the Mediterranean, however recent protests in Beirut have seen tens of thousands of people take to the streets in solidarity in order to protest against the government. Like Chile, Lebanon has one of the highest GDP per capita in the Arab world, behind only oil-rich nations, and the highest Human Development Index in the region, but this hasn’t stopped a formidable protest movement from breaking out. What happened in Lebanon leading up to the protests?
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Dollar shortage crisis
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The coming together of an ethnically diverse Middle Eastern country
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Dollar shortage crisis

The Lebanese pound has been pegged to the US dollar since 1997, but for the last decade the economy of Lebanon has been in decline, with GDP falling and debt-to-GDP reaching its highest in 2019. As credit rating agencies began to devalue Lebanese government bonds the government were forced to increase borrowing in order to maintain the currency peg, causing a dollar shortage and the emergence of a black market in US dollars. This dollar shortage crisis has directly affected companies that import wheat, pharmaceuticals and gasoline, the last of which sparked the gas stations strikes which directly ignited the protests.

arabtimesonline.com/news/the-tragic-disintegration-of-lebanon economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2019/10/05/a-long-feared-currency-crisis-has-begun-to-bite-in-lebanon france24.com/en/20190926-lebanon-gas-stations-to-go-on-strike-over-dollar-shortage

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 1
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The coming together of an ethnically diverse Middle Eastern country

While Lebanon has had a history of being fairly prosperous the government’s mismanagement has led to uncertain times for the country, but this uncertainty has also bred a cross Ethnic protest movement that is currently uniting all communities in Lebanon. Similar protests occurred in 2005 but were largely mobilised by a political parties, and again in 2015 over the government’s mismanagement of Beirut’s waste disposal, but this time people came out across communities and protested together without organisation from a particular party or sect. This seems to have influenced the latest protest movement as some Lebanese citizens are now questioning their own sects and leaders, and calling for the stepping down of the whole government. Protests are on-going despite the proposal of a wide set of reforms, protesters have continued to call for the government to relinquish power, but political groups such as Hezbollah and the Amal Movement look unlikely to entertain such prospects, Amal militant groups already opening fire on protesters.

aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/lebanon-experiencing-social-revolution-191020065959490.html news.yahoo.com/lebanon-braces-massive-anti-government-094819260.html aawsat.com/english/home/article/1953536/gunmen-suppress-demonstrators-south-lebanon

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Daniel Halliday
Oct 22
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