Saad Hariri Leaves Position as Lebanon’s Prime Minister Due To Continuous Protests

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Saad Hariri Leaves Position as Lebanon’s Prime Minister Due To Continuous Protests

Kassidy Haggard, National and World News

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Due to anti-government protests that lasted 13 days, Saad Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, decided to step down from office this past Tuesday. However, the protesters want the entire government system to be taken down, and Hariri leaving his government role did little to sway or lessen their protests. 

When the Lebanon government announced new taxes on October 17th, the protests began. These new taxes had to do most notably with a call and messaging fees on apps that were once free to use, such as WhatsApp. 

These taxes were most likely put into place because the Lebanon economy is on its way to collapse. The protests began because the people blame the government for this economic struggle that has been wrecking their country. 

Since the protests began, the protestors blocked off roads, schools, offices. Even banks have been closed. Though the Lebanese Army has made attempts to reopen these major roads, the protestors have not let them, and they continue to chant about the Prime Minister and his corruption, removing the rest of the officials from office, as well as demanding their “16 million back.”

This demand is most likely a reference to Hariri giving a South African bikini model a large sum of money before he took his place as the Prime Minister. The model has not only commented on them being romantically involved but is half Hariri’s age. Even before stepping down from office Hariri has not confronted the rumors or even acknowledged them, and he has continued to remain silent on the matter. 

Before Hariri stepped down and in an attempt to calm these protests, claiming he has “reached a dead end”, the Prime Minister put out a package of reforms on October 21st. Through these reforms, many promises were made. Among them were promises to help the poor by cutting the salaries of politicians in half, as well as to fight corruption within the government and the failing infrastructure. 

These promises caused the protesters to begin to talk of a revolution, and the protests have steadily increased. Protesters have been demanding everyone be removed from office and have taken on a saying-“All of them means all of them”–they chant together. 

It has been noted that whoever the Parliament and the president, Michel Aoun, choose to take Hariri’s place as Prime Minister will have a lot of trouble trying to end these protests and confront the corruption that has been rooted in Lebanon’s government. There is no doubt that it will not be an easy task, but if Lebanon hopes to continue to maintain a stable government, someone will have to pull everyone together. 

Some of Hariri’s Sunni Muslim supporters were angry about the Prime Minister stepping down, and have made it clear they believe other leaders should have been taken down with Hariri. Hariri urged his supporters to not go against their fellow citizens, and a media manager named Jad Al Rayess said in a 30 second, issued statement, “What we’re trying to do is to keep it as the citizens against the government, not citizens against each other.”

The protesters have shown no signs of wanting to stop these protests or give back the streets. Many have said that Hariri stepping down was only the beginning of what they were hoping to do and that there is a lot of work to still be done if they hope to change their country for the better. 

Whatever the outcome, Lebanon still has a long way to go if its people are to be happy and satisfied and for the protests to stop. The only question is when the government and the people are going to come into an agreement and how long these protests are going to continue.