Thursday, 24 January 2008

Lebanon strike update II

Sursock spoke to left wing activist Bassem Chit after he finished his tour of the capital distributing leaflets. He said, "Beirut is as quiet as Saturday afternoon. All the small shops closed, but the international chains like Starbucks remained open."

"Taxi drivers wanted to block the roads, but were warned off by their union and the army. No demonstrations in Beirut but the strike had bite.

"Attempts to portray this strike as a 'Shia uprising' have been disproved by the widescale support shown in Christian areas and some Sunni areas. This is a worker's revolt and their anger is boiling over."

"The strike was called by the transport workers after massive pressure from below. The local union branches have been pushing the national leadership to call the day of action. That pressure remains."

"It became clear that the pro-government unions (who parade around in suits and ties) were desperate to scupper the strike. In the end it was the army pressure on the militant unions (whose leaders are dressed like workers) that reigned in the demonstrations and gatherings. But there were still groups of workers out in the capital.

"In the Bekaa and the south there were many local protests. But no mass demonstrations."


Scott said...

It's Good to here it not just one of the three groups.

What the background to the strike?

Lebanese socialist said...

Inflation, power cuts and low wages. It is an economic strike... but the government was trying to paint it as political—therefore in some way sectarian.