Massive demonstrations in the Lebanese city of Tripoli constituted a milestone in the five-day popular movement in Lebanon.
The protests carried two distinctive messages: restoring the city’s national identity based on diversity and coexistence between Muslims and Christians and saving the city from deprivation and marginalization by rebelling against leaders who only gave promises to the citizens.
Thousands of young people continued to flock to Al-Nour Square, many of them coming from the predominantly Christian areas of Zgharta, Bsharreh, and Koura.
The moves came amid security measures imposed by the army and the internal security forces to maintain the safety of the demonstrators. Field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the security forces “placed concrete blocks on the secondary roads leading to the gathering site in Al-Nour Square to prevent cars and motorcycles from reaching the square.”
They noted that shops and private institutions opened their doors normally on Monday, but the city was almost paralyzed and the movement of cars almost non-existent.
While the ministers and MPs of Tripoli have so far remained silent, some backed the people’s uprising and invited their supporters to join it. MP Faisal Karami declared his full support for the demonstrations taking place in Tripoli and the entire country.
“The people’s uprising came spontaneously and free from any external or internal interference; on this basis, we stand with the people and their demands, and I asked my family, my supporters, and my friends to be among the people and to stand in solidarity with their pain,” Karami said in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat.
For his part, former Minister Ashraf Rifi said: “Tripoli today expresses its true and national face. It is a city of coexistence…”
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, he emphasized that the demonstrations have expressed a “sincere popular movement” and the extent to which the people are disappointed with the performance of leaders and politicians.