A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For November 08-09/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 23th Day


A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For November 08-09/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 23th Day
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
November 08-09/2019

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on November 08-09/2019
Aoun Discusses Lebanon Developments with EU Ambassador
Lebanese Banks Close for 2 Extra Days amid Financial Turmoil
No sign of new cabinet as Lebanese leaders meet, bank curbs continue
Student demonstrations continue in Lebanon
Lebanon pupils skip school for third day to demand change
Anti-Govt. Protests Ongoing in Lebanon
Lawyer Files ‘Illicit Enrichment’ Case against Bassil
In Lebanon’s Streets, Women Denounce a Double Burden
Geagea Says Officials Seem to be Living ‘on Another Planet’
Qassem Says Hizbullah to Have Active Role in Govt., Urges ‘Salvation’ Cabinet
Bassil’s Lawyer Says Graft Lawsuit Part of ‘Defamation Campaign’
Students Ramp Up Party Mood at Tripoli Protests
Dollar-Strapped Lebanon Hospitals Threaten to Refuse Patients
World Bank Regional Chief Urges Lebanon to Form Govt. ‘within a Week’
Germany Rejects Asylum Claim by Deported Lebanese Convict
Lebanese banks face threats, Hariri said to want neutral government

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on November 08-09/2019
Aoun Discusses Lebanon Developments with EU Ambassador
Naharnet/November 08/2019
President Michel Aoun held talks with Ambassador of the European Union to Lebanon, Ralph Tarraf where talks highlighted the EU’s position from the developments in Lebanon and the issue of thousands of Syrian refugees. On the governmental developments following PM Saad Hariri’s resignation, Aoun told Tarraf that “deputies will begin to study reform laws, and that the upcoming government will implement the economic plan of the outgoing government.” On the Syrian refugees, Aoun said their “repatriation from Lebanon is going in batches. The number of returnees reached 390,000 displaced people.” Moreover, Aoun said he was “surprised” at the EU’s statement regarding the integration of displaced people in host communities. In a tweet, Tarraf said he held “good, intense discussion with President Aoun on the political and economic situation in the country and the need to find sustainable answers to the current challenges Lebanon is facing,” adding that the EU “remains ready to support.””The EU wants to see the conditions in place that would allow the Syrian refugees to go back to their country. The EU has never advocated for a settlement or integration of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We agree that their stay should be temporary,” he added.

Lebanese Banks Close for 2 Extra Days amid Financial Turmoil
Associated Press/Naharnet/November 08/2019
Lebanon’s National News Agency reported Friday that the country’s banks will be closed for two extra days over the weekend amid deepening turmoil and public anxiety over liquidity and sustained anti-government protests.
NNA said the banks will be closed both on Saturday and Monday, along with the regular Sunday closure for the weekend. The agency said this will allow for the observation of the holiday celebrating Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, which is set for Monday in Lebanon. Earlier, banks were closed for two weeks amid nationwide protests calling for the government to resign. After reopening last week, individual banks imposed irregular capital controls to protect deposits and prevent a run on the banks. Lebanon is one of the world’s most heavily indebted countries.

No sign of new cabinet as Lebanese leaders meet, bank curbs continue
Reuters, Beirut/Friday, 8 November 2019
Lebanon’s outgoing Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri met President Michel Aoun on Thursday without announcing progress towards forming a new government, and banking sources said most financial transfers out of the country remained blocked. Already facing the worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, Lebanon has been pitched deeper into turmoil since Ocober 17 by a wave of protests against the ruling elite that led Hariri to resign as prime minister on October 29. Banks reopened on Friday after a two-week closure but customers have encountered restrictions on transfers abroad and withdrawals of hard currency. A banking source said that generally all international transfers were still being blocked bar some exceptions such as foreign mortgage payments and tuition fees. A second banking source said restrictions had gotten tighter. Hariri has been holding closed-door meetings with other factions in the outgoing coalition cabinet over how the next government should be formed, but there have been no signs of movement towards an agreement. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said he wanted Hariri to be nominated as prime minister again. Under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system, the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, the president a Maronite Christian and the speaker a Shi’ite. Aoun has yet to formally start consultations with lawmakers over nominating the new prime minister. The presidency said Aoun and Hariri discussed contacts aimed at solving “the current government situation”.
The protesters have called for a new government that would exclude leaders of Lebanon’s traditional sectarian political blocs. But politicians are still wrangling over its shape. Hariri has held two meetings this week with Gebran Bassil, a son-in-law of Aoun. Both Aoun and Berri are allies of the powerful Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah.
“A huge” collapse ahead
Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who had two ministers in the outgoing cabinet, said on Twitter that despite the protests, Hariri and Bassil “were meeting on how to improve and beautify” a political deal they struck in 2016. Politician Samy Gemayel, whose Kataeb party was not part of the outgoing cabinet, said the main players had not understood the depth of the protest movement. “I don’t see any change in the behavior of any of the main actors after everything that happened,” he told Reuters. “They are still trying to form a government where they can all be happy, and this is not what the people are asking for.” The unrest erupted three weeks ago after a build-up of anger at rising costs of living and political leaders accused of steering the country toward collapse. “We are protesting in front of all public institutions to shine a light on corruption, demand the change of laws, and let the political elite know their cards have been revealed,” said Nayla Geagea, a lawyer protesting in Beirut on Thursday night. The economy is choked by one of the world’s largest debt burdens. Growth, low for years, is now around zero. Capital inflows vital to financing budget and trade deficits have been slowing for years, making foreign currency harder to obtain. Gemayel said Lebanon was at the beginning of “a huge monetary and financial collapse.” “We are heading to a huge problem of purchasing power, a huge problem of inflation, a huge problem of poverty,” he said. He added that he expected restrictions on financial transactions would increase as banks sought to keep their cash. Two importers indicated access to finance was not improving. “So far we are still finding some liquidity to manage some transactions but the cash is being squeezed so we are worried about the longer-term,” said Hani Bohsali, general manager of Bohsali Foods and president of the Syndicate of Importers of Foodstuffs, Consumer Products and Drinks. A second importer said his bank would not allow him to make international transfers.

Student demonstrations continue in Lebanon
Lauren Holtmeier and Jacob Boswall, Special to Al Arabiya/English -Friday, 8 November 2019
Student-led protests in Beirut continued on Friday as Lebanon remains gripped by ongoing demonstrations. Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported protesters on the street in Hasbaya, southern Lebanon, and the capital Beirut, on Friday morning. Images circultaing on social media showed a student protest scheduled outside the Ministry of Education. Students from universities including the Lebanese American University (LAU) and American University of Beirut (AUB) have been a part of the broad protests in Lebanon, which started on October 17 in response to a proposed fee on WhatsApp call usage, and led a specific demonstration on Thursday. “Students are protesting AUB’s decision to remain open and resume classes as usual despite the ongoing situation in the country,” AUB student Cyrus Azad told Al Arabiya English on Thursday. “There’s a lot of political elite that are on the board of AUB and otherwise have influence in the decisions,” said Azad, referring to the university’s decision to take an “impartial role.”Other demonstrations are set to take place outside the state-run utility company Electricite du Liban and the central bank. Electricity shortages and expensive generators have been one of the many causes of people taking to the streets, while banks have also been the target of protests. Fears of an alleged dollar shortage also helped fuel protests against a worsening economic situation. On Tuesday, ratings agency Moody’s had downgraded Lebanon’s sovereign debt, saying sweeping anti-government protests had hit investor confidence and threatened marco-economic stability. Lebanon’s outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri met President Michel Aoun on Thursday without announcing progress towards forming a new government, and banking sources said most financial transfers out of the country remained blocked.

Lebanon pupils skip school for third day to demand change
Arab News/November 08/2019
BEIRUT: Thousands of high school students across Lebanon skipped classes Friday for a third day in a row to carry on the flame of the country’s anti-graft movement. Lebanon has since October 17 been gripped by massive cross-sectarian protests demanding a complete revamping of a political system they say is corrupt and inept. With youth unemployment running at over 30 percent, school students have joined en masse since Wednesday demanding a better country so they don’t have to emigrate. In Beirut, a teenage student who gave her name as Qamar was among thousands of pupils chanting slogans outside the ministry of education on Friday. “So what if we lose a school year compared to our entire future?” she said. “I don’t want to study in Lebanon and then have to travel abroad” to find a job. Around her, students waved red-green-and-white Lebanese flags, as others set off yellow, green, blue and purple flares into the sky. A poster in rhyming Arabic said: “No studying or teaching, until the president falls.”Across Lebanon, students protested outside state institutions and banks including in the southern city of Saida, Tripoli in the north and the east’s Baalbek. What started as a spontaneous and leaderless movement has become more organized in recent days, with protesters targeting institutions viewed as particularly inefficient or corrupt. Early Friday, dozens of activists and retired army officers for the first time briefly closed down the entrance to Beirut’s port. Among them, music producer Zeid Hamdan, 43, had come to denounce what he viewed as a customs collection system riddled with corruption. “As a musician whenever I bring an instrument into the country, I pay 40 percent of it” to customs, he said, sporting a light beard and wearing sunglasses.
“It stays stuck in the port for weeks. You need connections, to bribe everybody to get it out,” he said. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s national news agency says the country’s banks will be closed for two extra days over the weekend amid deepening turmoil and public anxiety over liquidity and sustained anti-government protests. The National News Agency says the banks will be closed both on Saturday and Monday, along with the regular Sunday closure for the weekend. The report says this will allow for the observation of the holiday celebrating Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, which is set for Monday in Lebanon.
Earlier, banks were closed for two weeks amid nationwide protests calling for the government to resign. After reopening last week, individual banks imposed irregular capital controls to protect deposits and prevent a run on the banks. Lebanon is one of the world’s most heavily indebted countries.
Lebanon’s cabinet stepped down last week but no official consultations have started on forming a new government, and outgoing premier Saad Hariri remains in a caretaker capacity. The World Bank has urged Lebanon to form a new government quickly, warning of the threat of a further economic downturn in a country where almost a third of the population lives in poverty.

Anti-Govt. Protests Ongoing in Lebanon
Naharnet/November 08/2019
Anti-government protests demanding an overhaul of the political system shows no sign of abating with thousands of school and university students demonstrating for the third day on Friday to boost the protests as they enter their third week. On Friday, protests mushroomed around different parts of the country. Students, retired servicemen and activists marched from Beirut’s Martyr’s Square to Beirut Port to protest “squandering of public funds.” Others staged sit-ins near the state-institutions in Dekwaneh, Jounieh, Hasbaya, Zahle, Jbeil and other parts in the country. In the eastern city of Baalbek, students rallied in the main square and marched towards the local banks in the area. People blame the country’s Central Bank for fueling the economic crisis. Grievances initially focused on poor infrastructure and abysmal public services quickly grew into an unprecedented nationwide push to drive out an elite which protesters say has ruled the country like a cartel for decades. After blocking off roads for days, protesters have switched to preventing access to institutions seen as the most egregious examples of mismanagement and corruption. In Zahle, students rallied outside the Grand Serail preventing its employees access to their offices as they sang the Lebanese anthem. Prime Minister Saad Hariri tendered his government’s resignation on October 29 in response to pressure from the street. That did little for his popularity with protesters in Tripoli, where giant posters of him were replaced with the Lebanese flag in several locations, a stunt that was met with applause by residents. The cabinet has stayed on in a caretaker capacity but efforts to form a new line-up seem to be stalling, with each faction in the outgoing coalition seeking to salvage some influence.Hariri met President Michel Aoun on Thursday and said that consultations were ongoing with all political players but gave no details.

Lawyer Files ‘Illicit Enrichment’ Case against Bassil
Associated Press/Naharnet/November 08/2019
A Lebanese lawyer filed a lawsuit on Friday against caretaker Minister Jebran Bassil accusing him of “embezzlement, money laundering and illicit enrichment.”Lawyer Marwan Salam said he filed the lawsuit against Bassil whom he accused of “embezzling public funds, money laundering, illicit enrichment and any other crime that investigations show.”On Thursday, Lebanon’s financial prosecutor ordered sweeping investigations into suspected corruption and waste of public funds by senior officials. Financial prosecutor Ali Ibrahim has launched probes into customs authority chief Badri al-Daher over suspected “waste of public funds.”The prosecutor’s decision came after lawyers brought a case against the officials in question over alleged misappropriation or use of public funds for personal purposes, along with “abuses of power which caused significant damage to Lebanese citizens.”Ibrahim had ordered an inquiry into “all the ministers of successive governments since 1990.”On Thursday, Ibrahim questioned former premier Fouad Saniora for three hours over $11 billion allegedly spent during his period in office from 2006 to 2008. Saniora has in the past denied all accusations of misappropriation of public funds. Last month, another prosecutor pressed charges against former prime minister Najib Miqati over allegations he wrongly received millions of dollars in subsidised housing loans, charges he denies.

In Lebanon’s Streets, Women Denounce a Double Burden
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 08/2019
Marching along with hundreds of other women in Lebanon’s capital, 41-year-old Sahar says she had twice the reasons to join in the nation’s mass anti-system protests than any man. “As women, we’re doubly oppressed,” she said passionately, while around her hundreds waved Lebanese flags and chanted against the patriarchy. Women have been at the forefront of Lebanon’s mass street movement since October 17 demanding an overhaul of a political system seen as incompetent and corrupt. Like their male counterparts, they have denounced their inability to alleviate a raft of woes from a deteriorating economy to unclean water and endless power cuts. But in a country viewed as one of the most liberal in the region, they are also crying out against discriminatory laws and religious courts governing their lives. “On top of everything we suffer as Lebanese people, there’s a whole bunch of laws that are unfair for women,” said Sahar, bouncing on her toes in a green T-shirt and jeans. In a country where 37 women have died from domestic violence since the start of 2018, female protesters are demanding better prevention and application of a 2014 law to punish battery. Instead of what they see as antiquated religious courts, they want a national law for all Lebanese — whatever their sect — to grant civil marriage, and rule on issues of divorce and child custody.They ask for the amendment of a century-old law governing citizenship that does not allow Lebanese women to pass down their nationality to their children.
Custody battles
During a women’s march on Sunday, protesters held up a long banner inscribed in red paint with the words: “Our revolution is feminist”. “I can’t get my mother’s nationality, but I can defend her revolution,” read another sign, referring to the 1925 law that deprives children of Lebanese women from their rights as citizens. Zoya Jureidini Rouhana, head of a the Kafa non-governmental organisation, explained the challenges ahead in the tiny multi-confessional country. “There is no single law for personal status but different legislation for each court from 15 different religious sects in Lebanon,” she said.
Among the most contentious issues is child custody, with religious authorities for each community applying a different limit to a divorced mother’s custody.
In the Catholic church, children in theory must be handed over after the end to breastfeeding or at around two years of age, but a court decides in the interest of a child. For Greek Orthodox Christians, a mother loses permanent care of the child when they reach 14 years old for boys and 15 for girls.
After widespread pushback, Sunni Muslim divorcees have been granted full custody until their children turn 12. But in the Shiite community, children are whisked away to live with their fathers when they turn two for boys and seven for girls. Similar differences also apply on matters of inheritance, as well as in setting the minimum age to wed, with no national law to ban unions under the age of 18.
‘Part of the revolution’
Rim, a 24-year-old student, said she has been taking to the streets since October 17 — for cleaner water, fewer power cuts and an end to perceived state graft. “As a young Lebanese woman, I demand a secular system and for religious courts to be abolished,” she said.
Women have been at the forefront of the protests since they started last month, sparked by a proposed tax on phone calls via free applications like WhatsApp before blowing up into general rage against the system. In the movement’s first few days, a woman who kicked an armed ministerial bodyguard in the groin became a symbol of the growing protests. In recent days, female high school and university students have eagerly spoken to local television stations to ask for politicians to stop wasting their future. Women have taken to Beirut’s main square after dark holding candles and banging pots and pans, in a clamouring racket that echoed around the capital’s homes. Debate around women’s rights has gained momentum in recent years, but activists says much remains to be done.In 2014, parliament passed a law to punish domestic violence, but rights advocates have demanded it be reformed to accelerate trials and increase sentences. Among the protesters, Roba, 33, a lawyer, said women’s rights were crucial for radical change. “Women’s issues are an integral part of the revolution,” she said. “Any revolution that doesn’t address women’s issues is wanting.”

Geagea Says Officials Seem to be Living ‘on Another Planet’
Naharnet/November 08/2019
Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea on Friday said that the country’s political leaders seem to be living “on another planet,” lamenting that there are no indications that the new government will be formed anytime soon. Geagea also accused Hizbullah of seeking a government similar to the resigned one by insisting on having its ally Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil in it. The World Bank’s regional director on Friday urged Lebanon to form a new Cabinet “within a week” to prevent further degradation and loss of confidence in its economy. Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned his government on Oct. 29 in response to the unprecedented protests which have swept Lebanon starting in the middle of last month. The protests erupted over proposed new taxes and have snowballed into calls for the entire political elite that has ruled Lebanon since the end of its 1975-90 civil war to step aside. More than a week after Hariri resigned, President Michel Aoun has not yet set a date for consultations with heads of parliamentary blocs who would name a new premier. There appears to be sharp divisions over whether the new Cabinet should be made up of experts only or include politicians.

Qassem Says Hizbullah to Have Active Role in Govt., Urges ‘Salvation’ Cabinet
Naharnet/November 08/2019
Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem on Friday said his part is “effectively taking part in the consultations with the heads of the parliamentary blocs and the relevant officials with the aim of forming the (new) government.” “We hope the final format for the premier and the government will emerge soon,” Qassem added. Stressing that Hizbullah “will maintain its role in carrying people’s concerns and working for reform and combating corruption,” Qassem said his party’s “presence and representation will be effective in the government that will be formed.”“It will be part of the coming government because it is part of this people,” he added. Emphasizing that things will not remain the same after the sweeping popular protests that have engulfed the country since October 17, Qassem said “the demands of this protest movement should be present and should have the priority over those of capitalists.”“We are strenuously working to have a salvation government that can represent a chance to prevent the country from descending into chaos,” Hizbullah number two went on to say.

Bassil’s Lawyer Says Graft Lawsuit Part of ‘Defamation Campaign’
Naharnet/November 08/2019
Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil’s lawyer Majed Boueiz on Friday described a graft lawsuit filed against the FPM leader as part of a “defamation campaign” targeting him.
“Some media outlets have published a report saying that a lawyer has filed a false lawsuit against minister Bassil over alleged and baseless offences,” Boueiz said. “The false news cited in the lawsuit over a purported commission from the Qatari grant, as initially reported by ad-Diyar newspaper, had been the subject of a lawsuit filed by minister Bassil against the person who published the report,” the lawyer noted. The journalist “confirmed before the judiciary that the report was false and signed a written acknowledgement in this regard,” the lawyer added. Boueiz also pointed out that the allegations about suspicious deals in the electricity sector had also been the subject of lawsuits that resulted in the “conviction” of “those who circulated the rumors.”
“It is obvious that this lawsuit and other false lawsuits are part of the defamation campaign that is targeting minister Bassil for reasons that are clear to everyone,” the lawyer went on to say. Bassil himself later tweeted about the issue and thanked the person who filed the lawsuit, while calling the claims “baseless and based on a fabricated article.””This is a new chance to unveil the truth, defeat rumors and expose unjust accusations,” Bassil added.

Students Ramp Up Party Mood at Tripoli Protests
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 08/2019
The main square in Tripoli feels like a fairground during the day, when thousands of skiving schoolchildren and students meet to throw their weight behind Lebanon’s anti-government protest movement. With their schoolbags on their backs and Lebanese flag in hand, al-Nour Square is abuzz with the laughter and chants of the northern city’s young people. Girls — veiled or not — take turns to have the red, white and green colors of the national flag painted on their face while others dance to pop music or pose for selfies. Since Wednesday, university and high school students across the country have massively deserted their classrooms to join nationwide streets protests. “What we learn here on the square is more important than what we learn in school,” says Nour, a 17-year-old girl. “We learn how to build a future and a nation,” she says to noisy cheers from the friends swarming around her. “We want to find jobs and not just hang our diplomas on a wall.” More than half of the population in Tripoli — Lebanon’s second largest city after Beirut — lives on or below the poverty line, according to the United Nations. Tripoli has been rocked by deadly clashes involving Islamists over the years, including as part of the fallout of the more than eight years of civil war in neighboring Syria. “Here, if you’re not wanted by the police, you’re wanted for an electricity or water bill,” says a young man near the square.
Stay in Lebanon
Al-Nour Square has become the beating heart of an unprecedented cross-sectarian and leaderless protest movement against poor services and government corruption. Often outstripping the capital Beirut for turnout, the Tripoli protests have turned the square into a permanent encampment for demonstrators. Al-Nour square is full of vendors selling juices, sodas, coffee, sandwiches and corn on the cob from carts. Some have made a business of selling flags and other protest paraphernalia, while one teenage boy is trying to flog a batch of balloons with cartoon character designs.
An older man walks around the square serving glasses of “erk sous” — a traditional cold liquorice drink — from a huge container strapped to his back. Tripoli has burst into life with the protest movement, which many in the long-marginalized city have seized upon to voice a long list of grievances.
Al-Nour Square, in the middle of which stands a huge sculpture of the word “Allah”, has become a home for protesters who show so sign of wanting to leave it. “We took to the streets to demand our rights. We’re tired, we want to prepare our future and achieve our dreams,” says Lynn, a 14-year-old schoolgirl. “We don’t want to have to live abroad,” she says, referring to the thousands of young graduates who leave Lebanon, where youth unemployment tops 30 percent to look for opportunities. The daytime carnival atmosphere gradually gives way to full party mood as night sets and more people start filling the square. Some of the most electrifying moments of Lebanon’s “revolution” were the rave parties and concerts held on al-Nour Square, watched live on TV by a bemused nation.

Dollar-Strapped Lebanon Hospitals Threaten to Refuse Patients

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 08/2019
Hospitals in Lebanon on Friday threatened to stop receiving patients over a dollar shortage impeding medicine imports. For two decades until several weeks ago, the Lebanese dollar has been pegged to the greenback, and both currencies were used interchangeably in daily life.
But banks have gradually been reducing access to dollars since the end of the summer. Hospital syndicate head Suleiman Haroun said unpaid bills and a lack of access to the U.S. currency meant the situation could deteriorate fast. Current medical “stocks in the country will not last more than a month,” Haroun warned, in a statement carried by the National News Agency. We “request banks to facilitate money transfers in U.S. dollars for importers of medical supplies,” he said. If not, “hospitals will as a warning for a single day on Friday, November 15, stop receiving all patients except emergency cases” including for dialysis and chemotherapy, he said. He also called on the state to pay pending bills to hospitals and doctors working under the health ministry. Banks in Lebanon have in recent days halted all ATM withdrawals in dollars and severely restricted any conversions from Lebanese pounds to dollars. Most Lebanese are instead having to buy the dollars from money changers at a higher exchange rate, in what amounts to the de-facto devaluation of the local currency that has sparked price hikes. Haroun’s warning came after almost 100 medical stock importers on Saturday warned medical supplies would run out in a month.
They urged the central bank to provide them with key dollars to bring in life-saving equipment and medicine, and called on the state to speed up payment of accruals amounting to more than $1.4 billion. Lebanon has since October 17 witnessed an unprecedented popular uprising against everything from power cuts and poor social security to alleged state corruption. “We’re dying at the gates of the hospitals,” has been a common refrain among protesters, many of whom cannot afford decent healthcare. The government yielded to popular pressure and stepped down last week, and the World Bank has urged for the quick formation of a new cabinet to prevent the economy from further deteriorating.

World Bank Regional Chief Urges Lebanon to Form Govt. ‘within a Week’
Associated Press/Naharnet/November 08/2019
The World Bank’s regional director on Friday urged Lebanon to form a new Cabinet “within a week” to prevent further degradation and loss of confidence in its economy. Saroj Kumar Jha told The Associated Press that the World Bank observed in recent weeks increasing risks to Lebanon’s economic and financial stability. “We are very concerned that this will impact the Lebanese poor people, middle class” and businesses, he said. Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned his government on Oct. 29 in response to the unprecedented protests which have swept Lebanon starting in the middle of last month. The protests erupted over proposed new taxes and have snowballed into calls for the entire political elite that has ruled Lebanon since the end of its 1975-90 civil war to step aside. More than a week after Hariri resigned, President Michel Aoun has not yet set a date for consultations with heads of parliamentary blocs who would name a new premier. There appears to be sharp divisions over whether the new Cabinet should be made up of experts only or include politicians. “It is extremely important that there is a political solution to the ongoing crisis and (that) we have a credible government in the office, which can launch ambitious bold reforms for economic stability, for more growth in the economy, for more jobs to be created and to restore confidence,” Jha added. Jha said the losses “are enormous” and some of them can be measured but there are many that cannot. He said the World Bank estimates that before the protests started on Oct. 17, Lebanese was already in recession and “we were projecting 0.2% negative growth in the Lebanese economy. More recent “estimates suggest that the contraction in the country’s economy could be about 1% of the GDP, which is quiet substantial.”He added this would almost mean 600 to 700 million dollars of economic losses every day. Lebanon, which suffers from widespread corruption, has one of the highest debts in the world, standing at $86 billion or 150 of the GDP.
Jha said the new government should work on restoring confidence in the Lebanese economy, creating business opportunities for all Lebanese, improving the job market and launching a comprehensive program for the state-owned electricity company, which is draining state coffers.
“We need a government immediately. A government which is credible, meets the expectations of the Lebanese people, can work with all (sides) in the country and international community” to take these reforms forward, he said. “Given the scale of social and economic impact in terms of economic losses, increasing poverty, increasing unemployment, I think it is extremely important that we have a government within a week to prevent further degradation of the Lebanese economy and the confidence in the Lebanese economy,” he said, speaking to The AP at his office in central Beirut. “If there is a government within a week, first of all it will send a very positive signal to everyone. To the markets, investors, to the international community,” Jha said. Since banks in Lebanon opened again last Friday for the first time in two weeks, people have been rushing to banking institutions to withdraw money fearing that the country’s crisis would further deepen amid shortage in liquidity. The banks subsequently have been imposing irregular capital controls to protect deposits and prevent a run on the banks.The banking sector — a backbone of the economy — suffered a blow on Thursday when Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the country’s three largest banks into junk territory. The international agency downgraded to Caa2 from Caa1, the local-currency deposit ratings respectively of Bank Audi, BLOM Bank and Byblos Bank.
Two days earlier Moody’s said it lowered Lebanon’s issuer rating to caa2 citing the possibility of rescheduling the country’s massive debt. Jha said the “downgrading of several Lebanese banks … shows that the confidence in the Lebanese economy is very sharply declining.” “It presents itself as a challenge to the Lebanese political leaders to really form the government as soon as possible,” he also said. Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported Friday that the country’s banks will be closed for two extra days over the weekend amid deepening turmoil and public anxiety over liquidity and sustained anti-government protests.It said the banks will be closed both on Saturday and Monday, along with the regular Sunday closure for the weekend. The report says this will allow for the observation of the holiday celebrating Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, which is set for Monday in Lebanon.
Lebanon is one of the world’s most heavily indebted countries.

Germany Rejects Asylum Claim by Deported Lebanese Convict
Associated Press/Naharnet/November 08/2019
German officials have rejected an asylum request from a Lebanese man who was convicted of drug dealing and deported but then returned to Germany. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Friday that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees had rejected Ibrahim Miri’s application as “clearly unfounded” and authorities are preparing to deport him again. Miri’s lawyer said he would appeal the decision. Miri was deported to Lebanon in July and was banned from re-entering Europe’s visa-free Schengen travel area, which includes Germany. However, he reappeared in the German city of Bremen late last month, applied for asylum and was arrested. Seehofer said that border police controls have been tightened to ensure that people who are banned from re-entering the country are kept out.

Lebanese banks face threats, Hariri said to want neutral government
Reuters, Beirut/Saturday, 9 November 2019
Lebanese bank staff are facing abuse from customers angered by restrictions on access to their cash, the employees’ union said on Friday, reflecting intensifying pressures in an economy gripped by its deepest crisis since the 1975-90 civil war. With Lebanon paralyzed by political and economic turmoil, its politicians have yet to make progress towards agreeing a new government to replace one that was toppled by an unprecedented wave of protests against the sectarian ruling elite. Saad al-Hariri, who quit as prime minister last week, is determined the next government should be devoid of political parties because such a cabinet will not be able to secure Western assistance, a source familiar with his view said. He is still seeking to convince the powerful, Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah and its ally the Amal Movement of the need for such a technocratic government, the source said. Hariri’s office could not immediately be reached for comment. Leading Christian politician Samir Geagea warned of great unrest if supplies of basic goods run short and said Lebanon’s financial situation was “very, very delicate”. One of the world’s most heavily indebted states, Lebanon was already in deep economic trouble before protests erupted on Oct. 17, ignited by a government plan to tax WhatsApp calls. Taking aim at rampant state corruption, the nationwide protests have targeted the entire elite.Since reopening a week ago, banks have been seeking to stave off capital flight by blocking most transfers abroad and imposing curbs on hard-currency withdrawals, though the central bank has announced no formal capital controls. The banks’ moves have led to threats against their staff.
“Clients with guns have entered banks and security guards have been afraid to speak to them as when people are in a state like this you don’t know how people will act,” said George al Hajj, president of the Federation of Syndicates of Banks Employees. Bank staff are considering going on strike, he said.
“Clients are becoming very aggressive; the situation is very critical and our colleagues cannot continue under the current circumstances,” added Hajj, whose union has around 11,000 members, just under half of the total banking staff. A senior banker expressed concern that potential industrial action by staff could force the closure of banks from Tuesday onward. Banks will be closed on Saturday and Monday for a public holiday. A big part of Lebanon’s economic crisis stems from a slowdown of capital inflows which has led to a scarcity of US dollars and spawned a black market where the Lebanese pound has weakened below its official pegged rate. A dollar was costing 1,800 pounds or more on Friday compared to 1,740 on Thursday, two market sources said. The pegged rate is 1,507.5 pounds.
“On another planet”
Some banks have lowered the cap on maximum withdrawals from dollar accounts this week, according to customers and bank employees. At least one bank cut credit card limits from $10,000 to $1,000 this week, customers said. “Anything that touches the liquidity of the bank is being restricted,” said another banker. One bank told a customer that a weekly withdrawal cap of $2,500 had been slashed to $1,500. Friday also saw the longest queues yet at ATMs, the senior banker said, as customers prepared for the two-day closure. In central Beirut, several people tried and failed to withdraw dollars from an ATM belonging to one of the banks that is still dispensing dollars from its cash machines. “It’s frustrating as I need money to keep me going for the weekend,” said one customer, a 25-year-old marketing professional. Another customer was able to withdraw cash in Lebanese pounds from the same ATM.
Hariri, who resigned on October 29, has been holding closed-door meetings with other politicians. “Hariri has made up his mind. He does not want a government with any politicians because this government cannot secure support from the West,” the source familiar with his view said.
Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces Party, said the only way out of the crisis was the formation of a competent government independent of political parties. “Every hour we hear of a crisis at the gates, whether it’s (supply of) petrol, flour, or medicine,” Geagea said in a telephone interview. “Everything is collapsing and the officials are on another planet, taking their time.”

Titles For The Latest Lebanese LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 08-09/2019
Lebanon: Protect Protesters from Attacks/Security Forces Using Excessive Force to Clear Streets/Human Rights Watch/November 08/2019′
The youth revolution for a Lebanon where they can stay/Ghia Osseiran/Annahar/November 08/2019
Change has long been overdue” — Amal Clooney Speaks About the Lebanese Revolution/Naheed Ifteqar/Vogue/November 08/2019
Lebanon’s complex web of corruption and its legality/Christina Farhat/Annahar/November 08/2019
The Citizen Revolution and the end of the republic of taef/Le Monde avec AFP/November 08/2019
Au Liban, le mouvement de contestation entre dans sa quatrième semaine/Le Monde avec AFP/November 08/2019
Bolivia: Protesters cut off mayor’s hair, cover her in red paint and drag her through the streets/Zoe Tidman/The Independent/,November 07/2019

The Latest LCCC Lebanese English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 08-09/2019
Lebanon: Protect Protesters from Attacks/Security Forces Using Excessive Force to Clear Streets
Human Rights Watch/November 08/2019′
(Beirut) – Lebanese security forces have failed to stop attacks on peaceful demonstrators by men armed with sticks, metal rods, and sharp objects, Human Rights Watch said today. The security forces have also used excessive force to disperse protests and clear roadblocks. Lebanese authorities should take all feasible measures to protect peaceful protesters and refrain from forcibly breaking up peaceful assemblies.
Human Rights Watch documented at least six instances in which the security forces failed to protect peaceful protestors from violent attacks by men armed with sticks, rocks, and metal rods. Although security forces have largely refrained from using excessive force against protesters since October 18, 2019, Human Rights Watch documented them using excessive force to disperse protesters on at least 12 occasions. Security forces have also arbitrarily arrested dozens of peaceful protesters and interfered with people filming the protest incidents.
“Lebanese security forces appear to have by and large respected citizens’ right to protest, but the authorities should make clear that they will not tolerate violent attacks and will stop forcibly dispersing protests without cause,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Security forces should protect peaceful demonstrators, including by ensuring that they themselves are properly equipped and deployed on demonstration sites.”
The Lebanese Red Cross stated that between October 17 and October 30, it treated 1,702 people for injuries at protest areas and transported 282 injured people to hospitals from protest areas around the country. The Lebanese Civil Defense told Human Rights Watch that during the same time period, it treated 82 protesters and 6 members of the security forces for injuries, and it transported 85 injured people to hospitals from protest areas. The Civil Defense noted that most of its operations took place in downtown Beirut.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 37 protesters who said they witnessed or were the victims of violent attacks by counter-demonstrators or excessive force by security forces in Beirut, Sour, Nabatieh, Bint Jbeil, Saida, Jal el Dib, and Abdeh. Five people said that the security forces prevented or tried to prevent them from filming the abuse, in some cases using excessive force. Most of the people interviewed asked Human Rights Watch not to use their names or their full names for their protection.
Protesters said that security forces failed to intervene to protect peaceful protesters from violent attackers on at least six occasions in Beirut, Bint Jbeil, Nabatieh, and Sour.
Human Rights Watch observed one such attack in downtown Beirut on October 29, when hundreds of supporters of Amal and Hezbollah used rocks and metal rods to attack peaceful demonstrators who were blocking the Ring highway in central Beirut and burned, vandalized, and looted protesters’ tents. Human Rights Watch and witnesses observed that riot police and the army who were present did not intervene decisively to stop the attack or arrest any attackers. They used tear gas to disperse the attackers only two hours later.
The Lebanese state authorities have a responsibility both to respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to protect protesters from violent attack, Human Rights Watch said. This includes ensuring that properly trained security forces are deployed in sufficient numbers at demonstration sites and that they intervene in a timely manner to prevent injuries. They should ensure the prosecution of those responsible for violent attacks.
The Lebanese security forces have in some instances used excessive force to clear roadblocks set up by protesters around the country. Human Rights Watch observed, and witnesses said, that during these incidents, security forces used batons and the butts of their rifles to beat protesters who were blocking roads, and in some cases detained protesters. In one case, the army used tear gas and fired rubber bullets at protesters blocking the road in the north Lebanon town of Abdeh.
The Lebanese army has acknowledged the protesters’ right to peaceful protest and assembly but maintained that protesters should reopen roads and only assemble in public squares. Authorities have not explained why they considered it necessary to forcibly remove roadblocks or disperse protesters in any of the incidents Human Rights Watch documented.
Human Rights Watch on numerous occasions observed protesters promptly removing the roadblocks for ambulances, medical staff, and military personnel. The secretary general of the Lebanese Red Cross confirmed that protesters have cleared the roads for ambulances.
According to the Lawyers’ Committee for the Defense of Protesters, between October 17 and November 4, Lebanese authorities detained at least 200 protesters, including in Beirut and Sour. As of November 4, 19 of them were still in detention. Five of those detained described to Human Rights Watch being abused by security forces during their arrest.
Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental right, and as such should be enjoyed without restriction to the greatest extent possible. The UN expert on free assembly has stated that “the free flow of traffic should not automatically take precedence over freedom of peaceful assembly.” Further, two UN experts have concluded that “assemblies are an equally legitimate use of public space as commercial activity or the movement of vehicles and pedestrian traffic,” and therefore “a certain level of disruption to ordinary life caused by assemblies, including disruption of traffic, annoyance, and even harm to commercial activities, must be tolerated if the right is not to be deprived of substance.”
International law allows for dispersing a peaceful assembly only in rare cases, including if an assembly prevents access to essential services, such as medical care or serious and sustained interference with traffic or the economy. The onus is on the authorities to justify the limitation and prove the precise nature of the threats posed by the assembly. Further, organizers should be able to appeal such decisions in competent and independent courts. Even when security forces can lawfully disperse nonviolent assemblies, they should avoid the use of force to the greatest extent possible.
Lebanese authorities should impartially investigate allegations of excessive use of force by security forces at protests. Victims of unlawful use of force should receive prompt and adequate compensation. Detainees who have not been charged with a recognizable offense should be immediately released.
“If Lebanese authorities are serious about protecting citizens’ rights to protest, they should investigate allegations of misconduct and hold those responsible to account,” Stork said. “Only then will the Lebanese have full confidence in the security forces’ ability to protect them in their fight against corruption and impunity.”
Failure to Protect Peaceful Protesters
Protesters told Human Rights Watch that on at least six occasions, soldiers and riot police units mostly stood by instead of protecting demonstrators or trying to stop the attacks on them by violent groups whose flags and chants indicated that they were supporters of Hezbollah and Amal.
Human Rights Watch researchers observed one such attack in downtown Beirut on October 29, and interviewed six protesters who were at the scene. At about 12:30 p.m., hundreds of people chanting slogans in support of the Amal leader, Nabih Berri, who is the parliament speaker, and the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, attacked peaceful demonstrators who were blocking the Ring road in central Beirut. Riot police separated the attackers from the demonstrators, but the attackers quickly broke through the riot police formation and beat and kicked protesters and hurled rocks and metal rods at them.
Timour Azhari, a Daily Star journalist, told Human Rights Watch that one of the assailants punched him and beat him to the ground, while another punched and kicked his cameraman, Hasan Shaaban, in the ribs. Christoph, a 36-year-old tour guide, said that an attacker punched him in the face as he was observing the attack. He needed stitches on his cheek and eyelid, and his doctor told him that he had been hit with brass knuckles. Ali Awada, an An-Nahar journalist, said that the attackers viciously beat him on his legs and arms.
Human Rights Watch observed some riot police standing on the sidelines during the attacks while others tried halfheartedly to stop the attack. All the protesters interviewed said that security forces did not do enough to stop the attack. “It appeared as though security forces were acting as individuals, not as an organized force,” Awada said. “Some officers were clashing with the Amal and Hezbollah guys, and others just didn’t do anything. They were basically watching.”
By around 2 p.m., the attackers had reached Martyrs’ Square, where they burned, vandalized, and looted the protesters’ tents. Five witnesses said that security forces did not attempt to stop this attack. Azhari said that although the burning of tents lasted more than 30 minutes, the authorities sent no additional forces. A video shared on social media appeared to show a lone security officer attempting to put out a fire with a small bottle of water.
The attackers advanced onto Riad al-Solh Square. At around 2:50 p.m., riot police fired tear gas to disperse them. Human Rights Watch did not observe the security forces making any arrests. The Lawyers’ Committee for the Defense of Protesters, an ad hoc group of pro-bono lawyers that interviewed dozens of witnesses and victims, concluded that although the evidence suggested that the attack was coordinated, none of the attackers were arrested. The Lebanese Red Cross transported at least 11 wounded protesters to nearby hospitals.
Five people said that supporters of Amal and Hezbollah beat and terrorized them and other protesters in Nabatieh, in south Lebanon, on two occasions. One protester said that after midnight on October 18, at least 30 Amal supporters surrounded him and about 30 other protesters who were holding a sit-in near the Serail, the municipal government headquarters. “They began beating us with sticks and the chairs we were sitting on, while insulting us and telling us that we can’t speak negatively about Berri,” the Amal leader and parliament speaker.
He said that the Amal supporters warned protesters that “whoever comes into the street, we will break their legs.” He said that many people were seriously injured and two had to be taken to the hospital – one with a broken arm and bruises all over his body, and the other with a broken nose. Although the Internal Security Force’s Nabatieh headquarters are in the Serail, the protester said that the security forces did not intervene.
Hundreds of people attacked protesters in front of the Serail building again on October 23. Four protesters who were there said that at around 3 p.m., more than 400 men whom they knew to be Hezbollah supporters attacked peaceful protesters, with sticks and sharp metal objects, including beating women, children, and older people indiscriminately. The protesters said that municipal police, whom they allege are under Hezbollah’s control, participated in the attack.
One protester said that the attackers beat him from all sides on his neck, shoulder, and leg. Another said that he saw “thugs” beating a 4-year-old girl and a 75-year-old woman. Two said that the attackers targeted anyone filming or recording the attack. “Injured protesters were lying on the floor, beaten and some unconscious, from all ages…You cannot imagine how terrifying it was to witness,” one protester said.
All four protesters said that Internal Security Forces present did not intervene to protect the demonstrators. One said the forces retreated into their headquarters in the Serail when the attack began. An hour later, protesters said, the army intervened to separate the attackers from the demonstrators. Those interviewed said that neither the army nor the security forces arrested any attackers.
Local media reported and protesters told Human Rights Watch that at least 25 people were injured. The Lebanese Red Cross said that it transported five injured protesters to the hospital and treated four at the scene. One protester said that a 16-year-old boy suffered a severe spinal cord injury and remains in intensive care.
A protester in Bint Jbeil, in southern Lebanon, said that Amal supporters attacked peaceful protesters on October 21. At about 6 p.m., he said, 50 Amal supporters armed with big rocks, glass, pipes, and sticks descended on about 1,000 protesters gathered in front of the Bint Jbeil municipal building. They were “beating us senseless,” he said. He said that the attack lasted for less than 10 minutes because the attack was so brutal that demonstrators quickly fled.
The protester said that although the army had two tanks near the demonstration and dozens of fully armed soldiers, they did not intervene to protect the protesters and retreated when the attack began. He also said that security forces did not arrest any attackers.
A protester in Sour said that about a dozen Amal supporters attacked and destroyed the protesters’ tents in Sour’s al-Alam Square in the early hours of October 30, in a “systematic way.” He said that the Internal Security Forces were there but did not intervene and that the army eventually ejected the “thugs” from the square but did not arrest any. “At any point, we can get attacked,” he said. “But I don’t have confidence in the security forces to protect us.”
Use of Excessive Force
The Lebanese security forces have in at least 12 instances appeared to use excessive force to clear roadblocks set up by protesters around the country. On October 29, three protesters told Human Rights Watch that the army used tear gas and fired rubber bullets at about 100 protesters, including women and children, who off and on since October 17 had been blocking the main road in the north Lebanon town of Abdeh and beat the protesters with batons.
Human Rights Watch observed security forces pushing protesters and beating some with batons to clear roadblocks at the Ring road in central Beirut on October 31, and at the Tehwita intersection in Furn el-Chebbak on October 25. Human Rights Watch also spoke with witnesses and reviewed video footage of security forces beating protesters to clear roadblocks on the Ring road in Beirut on October 26, in Saida on October 23, October 24, October 28, and November 1, on the Jal el-Dib highway on October 23, October 31, and November 5, and in Nahr el Kalb on October 23.
Human Rights Watch observed, and witnesses said, that during these incidents, security forces used batons and the butts of their rifles to beat protesters who were blocking roads, and in some cases detained protesters. Six protesters said they were injured during the clearing of roadblocks in Beirut, Abdeh, and Saida.
On November 5, the army also removed the tents, stages, and sound equipment set up by protesters in the main protest squares in Saida and Jal el-Dib.
One protester in Abdeh, Omar, said that the army began gathering in the Abdeh Square at around 8 p.m. Between 100 and 150 protesters, among them women and children, and the head of the Bebnine municipality, were blocking the main road.
Omar said that at around 8:15 p.m., an army commander told the head of the municipality that if the protesters did not open the road, the army would open it by force. He said the army then started advancing toward the protesters, who were chanting “peaceful, peaceful.”
“Whoever tried to resist or speak was hit with batons,” Omar said. He said that he saw a soldier hit a woman on her head with a baton, and others hit him with batons while he was filming the incident. Omar said that the army then fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd as they dragged and detained protesters. Video footage reviewed by Human Rights Watch appears to corroborate Omar’s account.
Another protester said that as he was watching the army advance, a soldier grabbed him and dragged him away. He said that 15 to 20 soldiers started beating and kicking him, including with batons and rifle butts. The protester said that one of his eardrums exploded as a result. He said the army transferred him to the military police in al-Qobbeh who released him the next day. “People are broken,” he said. “We’re all broken. Our rights have been forgotten.”
Bilal, another protester participating in the Abdeh roadblock, said that the army shot him in the leg with a rubber bullet, and he saw soldiers injuring two other protesters. “It was a war scene, it was horrifying,” Bilal said.
The army has forcibly re-opened the Jal el-Dib highway north of Beirut on several occasions, including on October 23, October 31, and November 5. A protester, Tony, said that at 8:30 a.m. on November 5, the army cleared the highway by stepping on protesters who were blocking the road with their bodies, beating them, and arresting 20. Footage reviewed by Human Rights Watch appears to show the army beating protesters, including with batons. Tony said that the army released 17 detainees and turned over the other 3 to army intelligence.
“I got hit with a baton by the army on my back,” Tony said. “One protester suffered a head injury and got three stitches. A young woman who was sitting on the front line was stepped on by an army officer and kicked in the ribs. Her rib is broken.”
Protesters in Saida said that the army and army intelligence tried to forcibly reopen roads there on multiple occasions, including on October 23, October 24, October 28 and November 1. Four protesters at the Awwali bridge at the entrance to Saida on the morning of October 28 said that army and army intelligence forces violently re-opened the road. The protesters said that in the early hours of the morning, about 20 army trucks arrived carrying soldiers armed with batons and shields.
“They were screaming, pushing, cursing, and scaring the protesters so that we would run,” a protester said. All four protesters said that the army intelligence officers were the most violent. “The intelligence were attacking people in a barbaric way,” a protester said. “Some were beating boys and girls with the butts of their rifles.”
One of the protesters, a 22-year-old woman, said that she was standing in the front lines with other women to prevent the violence, but security forces even attacked the women. “The rifle hit my stomach and I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “I fell to the ground.” She heard a commander give an order to “finish them [protesters], and then bring the ambulances to collect them.”
Two of the protesters said that the army beat one protester so violently on his head that he had to be immediately transferred to the hospital. The protesters said the army arrested at least five people but released them the same day.
Internal Security Forces officers arrested and violently beat Salim Ghadban, 29, as he watched them arrest four protesters who occupied the Banks Association in downtown Beirut on November 1. “They beat me mercilessly,” Ghadban said. “If I dared open my mouth, they beat me harder.”
At the el-Helou police station, Ghadban said, the officers did not allow him to call a lawyer, doctor, or his family, in violation of Lebanon’s Code of Criminal Procedure. Ghadban was released at 7 p.m. the same day. “I have a serious injury to my head, my forehead, under my eye, between my eye and nose, and on my eyelid, shoulder, and back. My nose is broken,” he said. Human Rights Watch reviewed his medical report, which corroborated Ghadban’s account.
Targeting People Recording Attacks
Five people said that security forces tried to prevent them from filming the abuse, in some cases using excessive force. Awada, the An-Nahar journalist, said that officers ordered him to stop filming the security forces attack on protesters on the Ring highway in Beirut on October 29. “When I refused, an ISF officer attacked me from the back, grabbed my arm forcefully and dislocated my shoulder, forcing me to stop filming,” he said.
Layal bou Moussa, an Al Jadeed TV reporter, said that the army stopped reporters from two other local TV stations, MTV and LBCI, from filming them pushing and beating protesters to reopen the road in Nahr el Kalb and Zouk Mosbeh on October 23, although they allowed her to continue her live reporting.
A protester said that he took videos of the army beating protesters at the Tehwita roundabout on October 25. “The army then came to look through my phone and saw that I had taken the videos,” he said, adding that the army detained him briefly because he filmed the incident.
Another protester said that army intelligence officers attacked people filming the army beating protesters blocking the highway in Saida on October 28. A protester in Jal el Dib similarly said that the army were ordering people not to film them reopening the road on November 5 and were confiscating the phones of people recording the incident.

The youth revolution for a Lebanon where they can stay
Ghia Osseiran/Annahar/November 08/2019
The country came to a standstill for the first two weeks of the revolution with leading educational institutions, faculty and students supporting the mobilisation.
The 17 October Revolution in Lebanon may be a spontaneous movement wanting to remain “fluid” without clear leadership, but youth are clearly at the helm of this mass mobilisation, dubbed the “student revolution” as protests entered their fourth week. Open discussions and debates take place in downtown Beirut on a daily basis discussing a wide range of socioeconomic and political issues in bottom-up citizen-led deliberations. Discussions are participatory, democratic and equal and protests are decentralised and non-violent. Each neighbourhood or group holds its own internal discussions for mobilisations and makes its own decisions.
It is not only the scale of the revolution that is unprecedented, but also its aspirations for change. The 17 October revolution is not just a political intifada but a cultural revolution toward a more inclusive Lebanon, one where youth will no longer passively accept discrimination based on age, sect, gender, socioeconomic background or any other grounds. Equal opportunities are a basic tenet of an inclusive economy and society, and it is precisely this usurpation of equal opportunities that youth were leaving their classrooms to contest on the streets.
The country came to a standstill for the first two weeks of the revolution with leading educational institutions, faculty and students supporting the mobilisation. The University Professors’ Coalition, which brings together professors from private and public universities, actively participated in the mass mobilisation, emphasizing the need to protect the independence of higher educational institutions and particularly the Lebanese University, the only public university. A joint statement by the presidents of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Saint Joseph University (USJ) urged the Lebanese authorities to “embrace the new spirit … to build a civil state that goes beyond sectarianism and interest-sharing.” The Parents’ Committee in Private Schools fully supported the closure of schools, with the Committee issuing a statement stating that “a degree framed on the wall is useless if its holder is unemployed.”
When schools and universities re-opened their doors during the third and fourth weeks of protests, however, it was students themselves who refused to return to business as usual. Thousands of school and university students from across the country deliberately left the classroom and joined nationwide protests on 6 November. Students from public and private universities self-organized forming the group “October 17 students” the next day to coordinate collective protests and exert pressure on universities not to open before their demands are met. On their banners and in interviews, several students repeated they were “not going [to class] to learn history,” but were “here to write it.” Their position, as summarised in one banner, was simply, “Why have an education if we have no future?”
This inability to convert educational credentials and resources into enhanced employment opportunities underpinned the frustrations of many young protestors. According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (2019), youth unemployment rates reached 30% in Lebanon. Labour market participation rates, on the other hand, were as low as 41% for Lebanese youth between the ages of 15-29, with just one out of three youth in employment.
The expectation that equalising education opportunities would help level the playing field and enhance opportunities in the labour market for all had clearly failed. Instead, the share of university graduates in Lebanon exceeds local demand for high skills. This is evidenced by higher unemployment rates among secondary and university graduates, the low graduate wage premium and an increase in the brain drain, with an estimated 44 percent of Lebanon’s tertiary education graduates emigrating according to the World Bank.
The youth who were on the streets not in the classrooms, however, chose the streets precisely because they viewed this as their only opportunity to carve out a different future for themselves in Lebanon. Since the start of the revolution, in fact, students and university graduates have been raising banners on a daily basis expressing their anxiety about the future. “We are studying for a future we won’t have,” said one student. “Interior designer looking for a job,” said another. Emigration was also a recurrent theme: “When I grow up, I want to be an architect like my daddy but in Lebanon.” Another child held a banner showing how she was deprived of her “right” to live with her father who had to leave Lebanon in quest of a better job and had died abroad.
Yara, a 22-year- old activist who has been participating in the revolution every day since it started, introduced herself as “stateless.” She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture with distinction from the Lebanese American University (LAU) but is currently unemployed. As a third-generation Palestinian refugee, Yara said she felt more Lebanese than Palestinian. Yara, however, does not have the right to work as an architect in Lebanon, as Palestinians cannot work in syndicated professions. Given Lebanon’s violation of the refugee right to work according to international conventions, including for refugees in protracted refugee situations, for Yara, the solution is also emigration.
Nepotism, including in the labour market, also loomed large. The statement “we no longer want wastas, we want to access jobs by merit,” echoed strongly in protest banners and interviews with youth. However, it was not merely recruitment by merit that protestors were demanding, but also decent employment and not working poverty, where “you work from dawn to dusk for 500,000LL ($332),” according to one banner.
On the supply side, the commodification of education was not forgotten by protestors, with several protest banners describing schools and universities as “businesses.” The number of private higher educational institutes in Lebanon, in fact, more than doubled since the end of the Civil War, reaching 49 licensed private higher educational institutions in 2019. This doubling in private universities took place in the absence of the implementation of adequate regulatory mechanisms monitoring their provision of education, as evidenced in the “fake university degrees” scandal revealed earlier this year. “Education is not business,” protested one student.
Social justice, access to quality education and decent employment are not this revolution’s primary demands at the moment. Its primary demands are political. This is because it is well understood that the social justice agenda cannot be advanced without first breaking away from the current sectarian state and moving toward a civil state. It is this new project that has mobilised millions of Lebanese in cities nationwide since 17 October with a new faith in an inclusive Lebanon. As one protestor said, “Before October 17 I will be leaving Lebanon. After October 17, I will believe in Lebanon.”
*Ghia Osseiran is a fellow researcher at the Centre for Lebanese Studies.

A moment of hope for Lebanon
Change has long been overdue” — Amal Clooney Speaks About the Lebanese Revolution
Naheed Ifteqar/Vogue/November 08/2019
A vast majority of celebrities who call Lebanon home have spoken about the revolution which reached its 20th day on November 5. The latest renowned personality to join them in support is Lebanese-British barrister, Amal Clooney. The international human rights lawyer recently vocalized her opinion in a heart-touching yet inspiring essay titled, ‘A moment of hope for Lebanon’ published by the An-Nahar newspaper’s English version online. Clooney began the essay with a personal story explaining the meaning behind her name, “When I was born in Lebanon, my parents named me Amal – meaning ‘hope’ – as they wished for better days in their war-torn country. That was more than four decades ago, and I have never had greater hope for my country of birth than I do today. “Because for the first time, I see people rallying around an idea, instead of a religion, party or sect.”
She added: “I watch a united population espouse a common vision for change based on dignity and equal opportunity. I hear excitement in the voice of my father, whose love for his country is palpable to anyone who knows him. And emotion in the voice of my brother, cousins and friends who have taken to the streets and report that ‘all of Lebanon is there’.”
She went on to share that even though she has been to Lebanon many times, “it only takes one visit to observe the stark disconnect between the government’s performance and the country’s potential.” Clooney’s essay also included her recalling the time when she left New York 13 years ago to live in Lebanon for the first time since she was a child. While concluding the essay, she expressed her pride by saying, “I watch proudly as Lebanon’s youth lead the charge to build a better country; and women show their determination to be catalysts of change. As people chant together, dance, and link arms. Not just people from one community, one party, one sect; but all Lebanese, standing shoulder to shoulder to say enough is enough.”Finally adding: “I believe we are witnessing a beautiful moment in the transformation of a beautiful country. There should be no going back.”

Lebanon’s complex web of corruption and its legality
Christina Farhat/Annahar/November 08/2019
Lebanon, run under a confessionalist power-sharing governance structure, has long been subject to nepotism, systematic patronage, judicial failures, electoral fraud, bribery, cronyism, and clientelism.
BEIRUT: While one may find themselves jogging their memory to recall Lebanon’s seemingly ever-shifting political post-war alliances, remembering the names of the country’s politicians will render itself a much easier task – they’ve been largely the same for thirty years.
Lebanon, run under a confessionalist power-sharing governance structure, has long been subject to nepotism, systematic patronage, judicial failures, electoral fraud, bribery, cronyism, and clientelism.
Transparency International ranked Lebanon the 138th least corrupt nation out of 175 countries in 2018. Corruption rankings in Lebanon averaged 115.25 from 2003 until 2018, reaching a peak of 143 in 2017, when the country was recovering from a period of political deadlock, and a record low of 63 in 2006.
While the international donor community holds their breath as their 11 billion USD in CEDRE funds are dangling just out of the Lebanese government’s arm’s length, and an impending sense of economic doom looms in the distance, millions of protestors have flooded the streets in a display of social dynamism and cohesion that disproved the accepted “given” of a divided, sectarian, Lebanese civil society. At the core of protestor’s demands? Combating corruption.
In-part due to political instability, Lebanon has failed to establish necessary integrity frameworks to fight corruption. Lebanon’s confessional power-sharing structures provoke quid-pro-quo arrangements, and patronage networks, in the public sector, having dire ramifications on the plummeting economy, and Lebanon at-large.
While the national anti-corruption campaign gained traction, it has been highly politicized in the past few years. The campaign has only tackled two corruption cases since 1992. With parliamentarians floating comfortably above the law, prosecution of the President and Ministers requires the consent of the Supreme Council for the Trial of Presidents and Ministers, comprised of eight senior Lebanese judges, and seven deputies chosen by the parliament.
Dr. Paul Morcos, Attorney at Law, Legal Consultant, and University Professor, told Annahar that the legal framework to address corruption is present, with an entire chapter of the Lebanese penal code dedicated to addressing crimes related to bribery and public funds embezzlement, and law 44-2015 addressing money laundering and terrorist financing.
Despite the assumption that all forms of corruption are underhanded, some aspects of corruption are legal due to the absence of existing legislation, non-reform of existing legislation to address current applications, and/ or a precedent of lack of implementation.
“We have the laws, they exist, but they need to be reformed. They need to be updated and renewed to address new challenges,” Morcos told Annahar.
Morcos went on to distinguish between verbal public approval, and legal consent, of political leaders in addressing the fight against corruption.
“Perhaps most importantly, we have to have the political will to fight corruption. Despite having the verbal, publicly proclaimed, approval of political leaders, we don’t have their legal consent yet. You can’t act consistently in the judiciary if politicians are against fighting corruption while publicly claiming they are with fighting corruption,” Morcos told Annahar.
On the Judiciary
Morcos insists that a law originating in the judiciary, and passed by parliament, is necessary to maintain the independence of the judicial body.
“We need a law to preserve and maintain the independence of the judiciary and such law should be originated from the judiciary committee and voted on in parliament. However, said ‘corrupt’ politicians will likely have no interest in passing such as law, as they have an incentive to keep their interests isolated,” Morcos told Annahar.
Morcos recommends legislation be put in place to eliminate conflict of interest post-judgeship mirroring that of the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The former disallowing employment after the Supreme Court in the event of retirement (justices serving lifelong appointments), while the latter implements a Supreme Court judge retirement age of 70 with no explicit law stopping the judges from taking up post-retirement jobs, but no judge taking a job in practice.
“In the meanwhile, the judiciary can produce an ethical code of conduct, or document, stating, or undertaking, their independence, as individuals. For example, if you talk about the high judicial council members, they could be banned from engage themselves and/or undertaking any political, or administrative positions, in the state after they resign. This will give them autonomy and independence in the present,” Morcos told Annahar.
Dr. Morcos acknowledged that it would be difficult, but not impossible, to compel the parliament to enact laws guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary.
“There were new laws enacted last year related to whistleblowing and electronic transactions in other fields. Such laws that are very old should be subject to reform and should be done by a special committee or subcommittee each and every time you have political priorities prevailing so you don’t have any inconsistencies in the legislative process for reform.” Morcos told Annahar.
On Legislative Reform
Despite the Lebanese constitution stating that every Lebanese citizen has the right to hold public office, and that “no preference shall be made except on the basis of merit and competence,” the public sector has been dominated by the same families for decades.
“We need new electoral law that results in fairer representation, which is lacking in the new electoral law that was passed last year. We must form a new government, first from technocrats, and then receive legislative empowerment from the parliament to enable the new government, itself, to enact a new electoral law through a legislative decree. Some say this is unconstitutional and impossible after Taif but under the current circumstances I think it’s possible,” Morcos told Annahar.
While this is a critical constitutional matter, one option for reforming the legislative branch is passing a legislative decree and calling for new elections based on a law enacted by the current parliament to reduce this mandate.
“This is the best way to reform and reconstitute a legislative branch. At that time you can give a chance for civil society to be represented and to enable the civil society to fight for such anti-corruption laws- this is the best way.” Morcos told Annahar.
Acknowledging the challenges arising from this recommended course of action, especially due to the leaderless nature of protests, Morcos’s outlook remains principally positive.
“This is very difficult but not impossible if people on the street are organized and have an advocacy plan based on specific requests you might reach this goal.” Morcos told Annahar.
On Banking Secrecy
Despite the existence of legislation requiring that the President of the Republic, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, and the President of the Council of Ministers, judges, and public servants to disclose their financial assets in a sealed envelope to their relevant councils, this information is not readily available to the public.
In light of the protests, a recent debate on lifting banking secrecy has been framed incorrectly. Existing legislation already addresses this matter.
“The problem is presented incorrectly. Banking secrecy is no longer an obstacle for fighting corruption. It was true in 2001 when we lacked anti-money laundering legislation, but, since then, we have new legislation enacted in 2001 and amended it regularly until we passed a new law in 2015.” Morcos told Annahar.
The outlined crimes of corruption trigger the lift on banking secrecy automatically-banking secrecy is not a method to fight corruption.
“Law number 44 explicitly includes the crime of corruption in addition to illicit enrichment and embezzlement of public funds. In case of such crimes occurring, banking secrecy is automatically lifted and the special investigation commission at BDL has a right to investigate and no banking secrecy will stand in their way. Of course, you need a reform in legislation as a whole but saying that banking secrecy is the obstacle is wrong.” Morcos told Annahar.

The Citizen Revolution and the end of the republic of taef
Le Monde avec AFP/November 08/2019
The radicalization of social movements continues its journey, while the oligarchies in place believe they can come to the end of this dynamic. The political conglomerate, with these multiple components, is struggling to accept new realities and draw the consequences, delay tactics, statements of intention tinted with false, the maintenance of political locks only confirm the mental state of a class Politics that always believes to master the course of events. It is not surprising because the cynicism of a political class that has controlled this country for three decades through policies of systematically plundering, clientelistic networks and consecutive systems of reporting (Syrian, Iranian, Saudi) has Wrong to believe in the fallibility of a system that has proven itself.
The sudden and unreleased character of the citizen revolution has caught them off guard, but it is far, so far, to discourage them and lead them to inevitable swings. They have tried the politics of terror through the hordes of Gage who have unleashed on protesters, and they continue to tack on the conditions of a political regulation while focusing on the imponderables of regional policies and the possibility of a Bloody repression. This pattern seems to be gank on regional developments strongly conditioned by the civic rebellions of Lebanon and Iraq and their overflow effects on the Iranian scene, the regulations for the situation in Yemen and the progressive loss of Iran’s room of maneuver On the Syrian and Palestinian scenes. The permutation of the regional order, the growing scale of civic movements, the operational autonomy of the Lebanese Army, and the difficulties of a political approach in mining, put an end to the political exclusivity of hizbollah, reverse the order of priorities of the agenda Political, break the locks and open the way to the implementation of a new social contract. This citizen revolution has highlighted the extremely political character of the obstacles this country has been suffering for decades, and the need to implement a new political dynamic that is now the condition for any reform work.
Otherwise, the oligarchic fabric is facing, for the first time, requests for justice that are linked to various levels of court, local and international. The possibility of escaping justice is getting reduced day by day as civic actors are working to implement the mechanisms of transitional justice with various international bodies. The implementation of a strategy of an is essential in order to break the locks of an airtight system, reduce the room for maneuver and evasion of the oligarchs, and ensure the conditions of operational justice: the central question of the return of the public treasure Can only be carried out in close collaboration with international legal, civic and political bodies. The Regional, institutional and political framework of the republic of taef is put out of play, and the citizen revolution is required to define a political register in order to put an end to the unacceptable hyphens in democracy between civil society and the sphere of governance. We should, in the end, let this political class know that a page is turned and that we are here in front of a new stage in the history of the country.

Au Liban, le mouvement de contestation entre dans sa quatrième semaine
Le Monde avec AFP/November 08/2019
A travers tout le pays, les contestataires sont de mieux en mieux organisés, ralliant de nouvelles catégories sociales. De nouvelles enquêtes judiciaires dans des affaires de corruption ont été ouvertes.
Le mouvement de contestation au Liban, qui entre dans sa quatrième semaine, ne s’essouffle pas. Ecoliers et étudiants ont manifesté jeudi 7 novembre par milliers à travers le pays, théâtre d’un soulèvement inédit contre les dirigeants politiques, accusés de corruption et d’incompétence. Les contestataires apparaissent même de mieux en mieux organisés, ralliant de nouvelles catégories sociales avec des initiatives qui visent à préserver l’ampleur de la mobilisation.
Depuis le 17 octobre, des centaines de milliers de personnes, toutes communautés confondues, ont battu le pavé pour dénoncer l’ensemble de la classe politique, dans un pays en proie à une grave crise économique. Geste symbolique, des manifestants ont enlevé jeudi des affiches de soutien au premier ministre démissionnaire Saad Hariri fixées à des lampadaires, qu’ils ont remplacées par des drapeaux libanais à Tripoli, grande ville du Nord, sous les applaudissements de dizaines de personnes. Les manifestants ont appelé par mégaphone les habitants et les commerçants à aussi enlever les affiches sur les façades de leurs immeubles.
Lire le portrait : Saad Hariri, un personnage-clé dans l’architecture du pouvoir libanais
Plus tôt dans la capitale, plusieurs milliers d’écoliers et d’étudiants se sont rassemblés devant le ministère de l’éducation, sacs à dos sur les épaules, allumant des fumigènes colorés et brandissant des drapeaux libanais. Des cortèges estudiantins ont aussi défilé dans les rues de Beyrouth, rythmés par les applaudissements et les sifflements des jeunes.
Graves pénuries d’eau et d’électricité
Les contestataires ont obtenu le 29 octobre leur première victoire avec la démission de M. Hariri et son gouvernement – qui continue de gérer les affaires courantes en attendant la nouvelle équipe.
M. Hariri a été brièvement reçu jeudi par le chef de l’Etat, Michel Aoun, au palais présidentiel de Baabda. Les deux hommes ont mené des « consultations au sujet du [futur] gouvernement », qui vont se poursuivre avec les autres parties, a souligné le chef du gouvernement à l’issue de la réunion. Les manifestants entendent maintenir la pression jusqu’à obtenir un gouvernement de technocrates qui ne seraient pas issus du sérail politique traditionnel.
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Outre Beyrouth et Tripoli, d’autres manifestations estudiantines ont eu lieu à travers le pays, notamment dans les villes majoritairement chiites de Nabatiyé et Baalbek, deux bastions du puissant mouvement du Hezbollah, selon l’agence de presse libanaise ANI (Agence nationale de l’information).
Mercredi soir, des milliers de femmes se sont rassemblées sur la place des Martyrs au cœur de Beyrouth, tenant dans leurs mains des chandelles allumées. Accompagnées par les vivats de la foule, les manifestantes ont tapé sur des casseroles dans un joyeux tintamarre. Les Libanais sont exaspérés par l’absence de services publics dignes de ce nom, avec notamment de graves pénuries d’eau et d’électricité.
Lancement d’enquêtes anticorruption
La Banque mondiale a estimé mercredi que « l’étape la plus urgente » pour le Liban était « la formation rapide d’un gouvernement correspondant aux attentes de tous les Libanais ». En cas d’impasse persistante, la moitié de la population pourrait sombrer dans la pauvreté et le chômage « augmenter fortement », a averti l’institution, à l’issue d’une rencontre d’une délégation avec le président libanais Michel Aoun. Selon la Banque mondiale, environ un tiers des Libanais vit déjà sous le seuil de pauvreté.
Ces derniers jours, les autorités ont mis en avant les mesures adoptées pour illustrer leurs efforts dans la lutte anticorruption, sans parvenir à calmer la rue. La justice a ordonné jeudi l’ouverture de nouvelles enquêtes dans des affaires de corruption ou de gaspillage de fonds publics présumés visant de hauts responsables, selon ANI.
Le parquet général a commandé une enquête concernant « tous les ministres des gouvernements successifs depuis 1990 à ce jour », tandis que le procureur financier a engagé des poursuites contre le chef des douanes Badri Al-Daher. De son côté, le chef de l’Etat a assuré mercredi que le prochain gouvernement inclurait des « ministres compétents et à l’abri de tout soupçon de corruption ».
*Article réservé à nos abonnés Lire aussi Liban : Tripoli retrouve sa fierté dans la

مصير بهدلي ليس ببعيد عن حكام وأصحاب شركات أحزاب لبنان
الياس بجاني/08 تشرين الثاني/2019
درس تحذيري وعبرة للسياسيين والحكام وأصحاب شركات الأحزاب التعتير وكلن يعني كلن في لبنان المحتل الذين يوالون الإحتلال الفارسي ويسرقون لقمة المواطن ويحتقرونه ويتجبرون ويستكبرون عليه ويتاجرون به وبوطنه خدمة لغرائزيتهم الشيطانية…..
المحتجين في بوليفيا امسكوا بريسة البلدية وسكبوا عليها البويا وحلقوا شعرها وجرجروها في الشوارع حافية القدمين
Bolivia: Protesters cut off mayor’s hair, cover her in red paint and drag her through the streets
Zoe Tidman/The Independent/,November 07/2019
Anti-government protesters have reportedly attacked a mayor from a small Bolivian town, covering her in red paint and cutting her hair. Patricia Arce, a member of the ruling Mas party, was dragged barefoot through the streets by demonstrators before being taken away by the police. The Vinto mayor was also forced to sign a resignation letter and the town hall was set on fire, according to the BBC. Crowds were blocking a bridge near Vinto, a town in the Cochabamba department which has seen demonstrations since the disputed presidential election on 20 October. After hearing rumours two anti-government protesters had been killed nearby, a crowd marched to the town hall, Los Tiempos newspaper reported. They got hold of the mayor, dragged her through the streets and attacked her while shouting “murderer”, according to reports. One of the rumoured deaths was later confirmed, the BBC said. Limbert Guzman, a 20-year-old student, is the third person to die following street clashes between supporters of the Bolivian president Evo Morales and opposition protesters. Mr Morales called the young man an “innocent victim of violence provoked by political groups encouraging racial hatred amongst our Bolivian brothers” on Twitter. Protests have been ongoing for the three weeks following the last election in which Mr Morales, who has been president since 2006, was victorious. His win was marred by almost a 24-hour half in the count which showed a sharp increase in support for Mr Morales once resumed. International governments have called for calm and are backing an audit of the election by the Organisation of American States (OAS), which has recommended that a second round vote go ahead. Mr Morales has agreed the audit will be “binding.”The OAS has called for calm while it completes its audit. Since the vote, cities have gone into lockdown, with daily marches and road blocks. A Bolivian protest leader who has become a symbol of opposition to President Evo Morales has arrived in the nation’s capital, La Paz, where he plans to formally demand the leftist leader step down after a contentious election last month.
**Luis Fernando Camacho, a civic leader from Santa Cruz, plans to march to the presidential palace with a pre-written letter of resignation for Mr Morales to sign.