- Title: Some Lebanese protesters undeterred by coronavirus lockdown
- Date: 24th March 2020
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LIGHT TRAFFIC IN DOWNTOWN BEIRUT VARIOUS OF TENTS IN BEIRUT'S MARTYR'S SQUARE VARIOUS OF WOMAN AND MAN WEARING GLOVES AND PREPARING SANDWICHES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE PROTESTER, ABOU HASSAN, SAYING: "I want to tell you something, in general, everyone is afraid of the coronavirus. As you can see here, we have started the safety precautions even before the government announced measures. And as you can see, we disinfect daily.'' VARIOUS OF MAN EATING VARIOUS OF ABOU HASSAN DISINFECTING TENT MORE OF ABOU HASSAN DISINFECTING TENT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE PROTESTER, ABOU HASSAN, SAYING: "As for the revolutionaries, we are staying here, and there will be surprises if on March 29 the government extends the coronavirus "holiday", people will not be afraid anymore, because there are more pressing things. The situation cannot withstand anymore." VARIOUS OF WOMAN CLEANING OUTSIDE TENT BEIRUT, LEBANON (MARCH 24, 2020) (VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBANESE ACTIVIST, MELISSA, SAYING: "We've been spending our time conducting revolution in another way, we have created awareness programmes and we actually have been doing a lot of social media and cyber wars as I call them. We took the first initiative to encourage and tell people to stay at home, we also had a whole campaign to get politicians to donate their money to help with the healthcare treatment of Corona." BEIRUT, LEBANON (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DOG NEAR TENTS IN SQUARE VARIOUS OF PIGEONS IN SQUARE
- Keywords: COVID-19 Coronavirus Crisis Lebanon Protests
- Reuters ID: LVA001C6EWAQD
- Location: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Duration: 00:02:30
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO AS INCOMING
Few remain in Beirut's Martyr's Square, a focal point of anti-government protests in recent months, but those who have remained say the sit-in will continue, undeterred by coronavirus.
One is 42-year-old Abu Hassan, who says he has been there since the first day of the protests which began in October 2019 against government plans to increase taxes and ballooned into nationwide unrest that persisted for months.
Even though the number of protesters in the square has dwindled to its minimum because of the coronavirus shut down, Abu Hassan insists that anti-government sentiment is growing and will erupt again because of the financial crisis hitting the country which has led to thousands of job losses and drastic increases in prices.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab asked the security forces on Saturday (March 21) to enforce stricter measures to keep people at home and prevent gatherings to rein in the coronavirus outbreak. In an address to the nation, Diab said this would include patrols and checkpoints.
The health ministry last week recorded a 29 percent rise in cases in one day compared to the day before, prompting the government's stricter response. Lebanon on Tuesday said it had 304 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Four people have died.
Other anti-government activists say that instead of protesting in Martyrs Square they are shifting their movement elsewhere.
Activist Melissa Fathallah says she spends her days trying to coordinate various relief efforts to help people affected by or fighting the spread of the virus.
''We've been spending our time conducting revolution in another way, we have created awareness programs and we actually have been doing a lot of social media and cyber wars as I call them, we took the first initiative to encourage and tell people to stay at home.''
She added that they will be "back in the streets once it is all over."
Lebanon's government had already declared a medical state of emergency from March 15 and ordered most of the country closed, including the airport until March 29.
(Production: Ayat Basma, Alaa Kanaan)
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