Football, yoga, campfires: Lebanon's protesters find creative means to continue roadblocks for 12th day

Football, yoga, campfires: Lebanon's protesters find creative means to continue roadblocks for 12th day
Lebanon's demonstrators are making the most of the blocked-off streets they vow to keep locked down until calls for political and economic overhaul are met.
3 min read
28 October, 2019
Lebanon's impromptu yogis embodied the peaceful spirit of the mass protests [Getty]
Lebanese demonstrators persevered with efforts to block key roads in the capital and keep the country on lockdown on Monday, in order to call attention to their demands for radical overhaul of the stagnant political system and economic troubles.

Protesters came up with creative ways to continue the rallies into their twelfth consecutive day, in spite of the authorities' efforts to remove them from occupying the roads, including the vital north-south highway that connects Lebanon's main cities.

In-depth: 'Enough!': Lebanese protesters demand change as demonstrations stand strong

At least two impromptu yoga sessions in the capital allowed demonstrators to find their zen and show off their best warrior poses on the closed off ring road around Beirut, while football games made the most of the pedestrianised thoroughfares of the capital.

To keep up morale overnight, demonstrators gathered around campfires and kept cosy by relocating their living rooms, furniture and all - to the sit-in.

A poster urging motorists to block roads with their cars began to circulate on social media on Sunday, and by Monday morning major roads in the capital were shut down by hundreds of angle-parked vehicles.

A video from Monday morning also people storming the municipality building in Tripoli, with protesters calling for more organised and direct action to push forward reform efforts.

The Lebanese security forces have been expected to make a new attempt at reopening the roads as the country edges towards two weeks of paralysis.

The army and the country's top security agencies had agreed at the weekend to a military-led plan to clear roadblocks, but their efforts have been met with resistance from demonstrators.

Pictures emerged of soldiers dragging protesters off the streets in Saida, southern Lebanon, however the sit-ins have managed the hold in most parts of the country.

In a breathtaking show of national and civic identity, tens of thousands of protesters of all ages and backgrounds joined hands on Sunday to form a 170-kilometre human chain stretching from Tripoli in the north to Tyre in the south.

Rallies have in part campaigned against Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing arrangements, which have led to political stagnasis and facilitated corruption and fragmentation among the political elite.

Protesters have so far criticised the government's attempts to appease protesters, which consist of a belated package of economic reforms and a cabinet reshuffle.

Read more: The time has come to define the Lebanon we want

The protesters have generally called for the resignation of the entire political leadership and cabinet, who they see as upholding a corrupt and dysfunctional sectarian system which has for too long shied away from implementing vital reforms to resolve issues such as soaring youth unemployment, poor infrastructure and public services and the garbage and environmental crisis.

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