Feel the Bern: American presidential candidate Bernie Sanders voices support for mass Lebanon protests

Feel the Bern: American presidential candidate Bernie Sanders voices support for mass Lebanon protests
The US Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful said on Twitter that the spirit of the Arab Spring was 'very much alive'.
2 min read
23 October, 2019
Sanders is the only US politician to express support for the demonstrations in Lebanon. [Getty]
US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has expressed his support for the protests in Lebanon, saying that the "spirit" of the Arab Spring was still "very much alive."

The progressive Democrat tweeted a video of thousands of protesters demonstrating in the main square of the northern city of Tripoli, one of the centres of the uprising that began last Thursday.

Read more: Lebanese army stops Hezbollah, Amal bikers from harassing protesters

"The Arab Spring rose up to fight corruption, repression, inequality and austerity," he wrote. "The Lebanon and Iraq protests show this spirit is still very much alive. If we want a progressive future, we need to build up a global movement of and for working people."

It is the first such expression of support from a United States politician for the demonstrations in Lebanon, which have otherwise been met with silence both from politicians and international media outlets.

When portrayed in the news, many outlets have chosen to portray the largely peaceful uprising as unruly and violent.

The spontaneous, leaderless demonstrations began on Thursday and were triggered by the government's now-cancelled plan to impose a tax on phone messaging services like Whatsapp.

The protests have since turned into an uprising against political corruption, negligent and bad governance, austerity measures, and a dire economic situation, and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government.

Sanders' tweet also referenced the recent protests in Iraq, where thousands protested against high unemployment rates and poor governance against the incumbent Adel Abdel Mahdi government.

The protests that began in early October were met with lethal violence from security forces, leading to over 150 deaths and 6,000 others injured, most of whom were protesters.

In what can be called the second wave of the Arab Spring that was initially triggered in 2011, people in Sudan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and now Lebanon are voicing their grievances in large public demonstrations against their respective governments.

Observers report that over a million people across the country took to the streets in Lebanon on Saturday, making it one of the largest such gatherings in recent times.

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