Sheikh it off: Lebanon's dancing cleric makes appearance at protests

Sheikh it off: Lebanon's dancing cleric makes appearance at protests
A 'dancing Sheikh' was spotted in Lebanon as the country partied itself into nearly a week of protests.
2 min read
23 October, 2019
The dancing sheikh was spotted in Lebanon [Facebook]
A Sheikh was found dancing in the midst of Lebanon's protests as the country rises up against corruption.

For nearly a week, protests against the political elite have rocked Lebanon. People united across major cities to partake in what is being branded as unconventional forms of protest, including demonstrators paddling pools, raves and street parties.

A video of a Muslim Sheikh dancing during one of the demonstrations has been making the rounds on social media.

The video was shared across Facebook, with many finding it humorous. The unnamed Sheikh also received much praise on social media for taking part in the demonstrations.

Lebanese social media has been flooded with videos of singing, dancing and even the mass serenading of the children's song Baby Shark to a child who was afraid in the midst of the demonstrations.

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.

On Monday, Hariri said he supported demonstrators' calls for early elections on Monday, in the face of the protests.

The under-fire premier was speaking in a televised press conference that followed a cabinet meeting during which much-delayed economic reforms and the 2020 budget were approved.

"These decisions are not designed as a trade-off. They are not to ask you to stop expressing your anger. That is your decision to make," Hariri, himself an ex-prime minister's son, said in a televised press conference. 

Euphoric crowds partied deep into the night on Sunday, leaving political and sectarian paraphernalia at home to gather under the cedar-stamped national flag, dance to impromptu concerts and chant often hilarious anti-establishment slogans.

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.