After Lebanese revolt’s fury, waning protests face long road

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By DALAL MAWAD Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — A year ago, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese took to the streets protesting taxes and a rapidly deteriorating economic crisis. A spontaneous and hopeful nationwide movement was born, denouncing an entire political establishment that had for decades pushed Lebanon toward collapse.

Today, as crises multiply and the country dives deeper into uncertainty and poverty, protests seem to have petered out. Even widespread anger over a devastating explosion at Beirut’s port on Aug. 4, blamed on government negligence, failed to re-ignite the movement.

It is both bewildering and frustrating for those who believe only a sustained popular uprising can bring change in Lebanon.

Some argue the protests lost momentum because of the political elite’s moves to hijack and weaken the movement. Protesters have been met with violence, arrest and intimidation. Others say Lebanese have become numb to incompetence and corruption among the political class.

But Lebanon’s confessional-based power-sharing system also proved difficult to bring down. A revolt against the status quo means breaking a sectarian patronage network cultivated by the ruling elite that…


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