Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Anger in Lebanon

Since the start of the aggression on Gaza, on Saturday 27th 2008, actions, demonstrations and sit-ins are being organized on a daily basis.

During the first few hours of the aggression, groups of students and young workers from different leftist and socialist organizations (The Union of Democratic Youth, Leftist Assembly for Change, Students sector of the Lebanese Communist Party, People’s Movement), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine, Socialist Forum) organized an open Sit-In in front of the UN house in Beirut and released a statement calling for action in support of the resistance in Gaza and to resist against the Arab regimes and the Israeli aggression.

A demonstration was called at the Egyptian Embassy in Beirut.

On Sunday the demo started from center Beirut to the Egyptian embassy, starting with 300 protestors and by the time it reached the Embassy it had grown to 500 demonstrators, the Embassy was encircled by barbwires with heavy military and anti-riot police reinforcements.

The demonstrators chanted against Mubarak and calling for the opening of the borders with Gaza, soon enough the demo drew in more and more people from the surrounding areas and clashes started between protestors and the police and army, where water canons were open and tear-gas bombs were thrown at demonstrators, many have fainted and been slightly injured.

At the same day, small demonstrations and sit-ins were called in Saida and Tripoli and inside the Palestinian camps around the country. The Sit-In in front of ESCWA grew by the hours, as it drew more people and became slowly as a coordination and mobilisation camp for actions and demos.

Sunday evening, Hizbollah called for a big gathering in the Southern Suburbs of Beirut on Monday and cancelled all Ashoura activities, joining them all together in one place. The gathering drew in thousands of people.

Tuesday witnessed more small actions and demos around the country, the Sit-In organized mobile demos and leafleting around Beirut calling for a demonstration on Wednesday at the Arab League Office in Beirut, about 400 to 500 people showed up the next day to the demo and it marched towards the office of the Arab League where it managed to push the riot police a few hundred meters to the back.

During the same day more than 10 demonstrations and gatherings were organized around the country, at night (New Year’s Eve) a big gathering was organized in center Beirut, drawing about 300 people, where chants calling in support of the resistance and against the Arab regimes were heard till the early hours of the morning.

On Thursday a direct action was organized in front of the Egyptian embassy where banners and Palestinian flags were put all over the barbwires which were set in a 1 km2 perimeter around the embassy.

On Friday another direct action was organized at the Egyptian embassy after the police have removed the flags and banners, where a call was released from the Sit-In to throw shoes at the Egyptian embassy, in the early afternoon, a march was organized from Hamra to the Egyptian embassy drawing in around 500 demonstrators, after the march has finished, the police closed the road leading to the Egyptian embassy.

On Saturday a big demo was organized by different political groups in Tripoli, North Lebanon, Saturday night, the Israeli troops started the land attack on Gaza, and in a few hours the Sit-In called for a demonstration on Sunday against the US embassy in Awkar Beirut, the next day, people started gathering from 8:30 in the morning reaching 500 people by 10.30 where people gathered in buses and head towards the US embassy.

Many people joined the demo later, the army and police were quite aggressive and water canons started and tear gas bombs were thrown at the protestors, the clashes kept on, protestors managed to cross over the first three blockades, then the army started shooting the tear-gas bombs directly at the demonstrators, six people where injured and taken to hospitals, and 15 have fainted.

Protestors went down directly from the US embassy to the Egyptian embassy where a demonstration was held at 5:00 in the afternoon.

On Monday different opposition political parties (Hezbollah, Amal, Al Tawhid, Haraket ShaĆ”b, etc…) called for a demo at the Egyptian embassy, having around 250 protestors.

The Next Demonstration for the Sit-In is on Wednesday January 7th 2009, at the office of the European Commission in Beirut at 3:00 PM against the European position and more specifically the Sarkosy so called “peace initiative”.

Actions and gatherings are still being called, The Left Alliance (Communist Party, Leftist Assembly for Change, Socialist Forum, Democratic Youth Union, etc…) are currently for a big demonstration in the coming few days.

The political position on the Attacks on Gaza are split in four trends, one which is the official position (March 14th) which is calling against the aggression but sticks with the Mahmoud Abbas Government, actions are mainly done for gathering money and giving it to the Palestinian Authority (Fateh)

Hezbollah, Free Patriotic Movement and the rest of the March 8th coalition (Opposition) are calling against the Israeli aggression on gaza and calling for resistance within Gaza and popular resistance in Egypt against the Regime of Husni Mubarak, put at the same time they are retaining from participating in any actions or demonstrations in Lebanon.

Islamic Groups which support Hamas are organizing some gatherings and public meetings the official position is support to the resistance and call for opening of the borders at Rafah.

The Left has called towards an adherent popular resistance against the Arab regimes and in Support of the resistance calling that the Israel would not have been able to shoot a bullet if it did not have the indirect or direct support of the Arab Regimes and what is called to be the International Community.

Currently the most active body on the streets is the left calling for actions on a daily basis, trying to brake through the general environment of silence in the streets put out by the March 14th and Opposition coalitions, with especially the opposition is still keeping their supporters out of the streets and trying to push back any popular anger against the regimes.

The battle now is to break through that silence, to push and convince as many people to the streets in support of the resistance and against the aggression on Gaza and against the collaboration of Arab states. Regime change is the word that everyone speaks about when asked on how we can support the resistance in Gaza.

These regimes are politically weak and they have failed their people on all questions, and it is not allowed anymore to let them steer us to another defeat.

Resistance against the aggression on Gaza, resistance against the Arab Regimes, only the masses can create that change.

Bassem Chit

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