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Lebanon: Youth protest government corruption, Iran/Hezbollah role

Widespread protests in Beirut and other cities of Lebanon-October 19, 2019
Widespread protests in Beirut and other cities of Lebanon-October 19, 2019

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Lebanon, October 19, 2019—Following demonstrations seen across central and southern Iraq by a population becoming increasingly intolerant in regards to the Iranian regime’s meddling in their country, it has been three days now that we have been witnessing protests by the people of Lebanon against a corrupt government and Hezbollah, a known proxy of the mullahs’ regime. This is yet another blow to the Iranian regime’s apparatus across the Middle East.

The mullahs’ regime in Iran is already facing an ever-escalating threat of social protests and demonstrations erupting into a new uprising engulfing the country, and senior regime officials are expressing grave concerns protests. This includes the recent HIV outbreak in Lordegan, southern Iran, and continuous strikes, protests, and demonstrations held by workers, farmers, and people from other segments of Iran’s society.

 

Sky News TV reports on Saturday, October 19, marking the third day of protests in Lebanon, the people have been seen establishing major footprints across the country despite massive dispatching of security forces. Demonstrators have blocked the road leading to the Presidential Palace. These protests are expanding despite the fact that the Lebanese government agreed to cancel plans to increase taxes on Friday.

The roads of most cities and towns are reported to be closed, and roads leading to the capital’s international airport and nearby areas remain blocked with tires set on fire. Banks and schools across Lebanon are closed and most trade institutions and businesses are refraining from opening.

Despite the fact that security forces have resorted to brute measures to disperse the demonstrators, the protesters have refused to empty the Riad Al Solh square in downtown Beirut. Demonstrators have also attacked many government buildings and set fire to a number of them.

On Friday, demonstrators in downtown Beirut and nearby areas were heard chanting, “People demand government overthrow!” and clashing with security forces. Al Arabiya TV reported at least two people have been killed and seven injured during these protests.

The Lebanese demonstrators are accusing government officials of theft, corruption and being involved in massive business deals that provide profits from the people’s pockets.

In an obvious display of their anger, locals in the city of Nabatieh in southern Lebanon set fire to the offices affiliated to officials of Hezbollah and the Amal.

The latest unrest was sparked by plans to impose a fee of 20 U.S. cents on the first WhatsApp call that users make every day, causing outrage in a country where communications costs are among the least competitive in the region and people widely use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) applications to save money. WhatsApp, a free messaging and voice platform owned by Facebook, has some 1.5 billion users worldwide.

 

It is worth noting that various reports show the regime in Iran provides $700-800 million a year to Hezbollah, $100 million of which provided by the mullahs’ Foreign Ministry. With sanctions expanding on the Iranian regime, these funds have been decreasing significantly and various reports showed Hezbollah launching measures to asking for donations from the Lebanese people.

Hezbollah called on its supporters to donate money as it comes "under increasing pressure from Western sanctions intended to isolate it financially," according to a Reuters report on March 8, 2019.

 

“The United States deems all parts of Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has been steadily increasing financial sanctions against the Iran-backed movement.”

“I announce today that the resistance is in need of its (popular base),” Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, adding that donations were needed to support the group’s activities.

Read how Hezbollah has been acting as the Iranian regime’s most important tool for spreading fundamentalism in the Middle East

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