'From Beirut to Minneapolis': Lebanese activists release 'protest guide' for US demonstrators

'From Beirut to Minneapolis': Lebanese activists release 'protest guide' for US demonstrators
A 'protest guide' created by Lebanese activists has been shared online, detailing ways in which demonstrators in the US can adequately equip themselves while safely protesting against police brutality.
3 min read
01 June, 2020
Mass rallies broke out in Lebanon in October 2019 [Getty]
A group of Lebanese activists have put together a "protest guide" for US demonstrators in a show of solidarity with the mass protests against police brutality in the United States.

Lebanese activists released on Friday a document entitled "From Beirut to Minneapolis: A protest guide in solidarity", which quickly circulateed across popular social media platforms.

The guide addressed issues including what protesters should wear when demonstrating, how to react if hit with tear gas and how to document police abuse.

Sarah Aoun, the co-author of the guide, spoke to The New Arab about the purpose of sharing the manual, which was co-written with media researcher Azza El Masri, and includes contributions from journalists, activists and organisers of protests in Lebanon.

"[The guide was written] as a show of solidarity to protesters in the US," Aoun says. "We wanted to share learned experiences from the October revolution."

Aoun, who works between Beirut and New York City as a human rights technologist guiding journalists and human rights activists on security and privacy, used her professional experience to write the manual.

"We wanted to release it and connect it to the US for a few reasons," Aoun tells The New Arab. "Our struggles are global. We learned a lot from communities in the US who have been protesting for decades as well.

"We learned a lot from Hong Kong and the protests there. We wanted to show our solidarity and contribute in a meaningful way by making an easy guide for everyday folks."

Aoun says the guide received praise after it was found to be helpful to protesters.

"We received a lot of messages of people thanking us and saying it was really useful," she says. "We're happy to have this circulated as broad as possible, for anyone who needs it. There are movements everywhere in the world, and [the guide] could be remixed and adapted in other situations."

Mass rallies broke out in Lebanon in October 2019, after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across the country to protest rampant corruption and an ailing economy. They were met with brutal police violence, large amounts of tear gas, violent beatings and mass arrests.

Similarly, this week saw thousands of civil rights protesters take to the streets across America, demanding tougher measures against the police officer charged with the killing of George Floyd and wider police reform.

Videos that emerged online showed unarmed black man George Floyd on the floor as a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The officer dismissed repeated pleas by witnesses to the incident, as well as Floyd, who clearly stated he "can't breath". 

The protests, some of which turned violent, also come amid  disproportionate rates of death and hospitalisation from the coronavirus outbreak among America's Black and Latino community.

Unemployment has also spiked among minority populations amid the business closures sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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