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VIDEOS: Hundreds of Lebanese rally against sectarian regime

Posted on: March 3, 2011

Hundreds of people braved a cold, driving rain Sunday to march in support of toppling the country’s sectarian political system, which the demonstrators blame for corruption and impoverishing the public.

Protestors held banners reading “The people want to topple the sectarian regime,” and chanted “Revolution has arrived in Lebanon,” hoping to capitalize the wave of pro-change fever sweeping the Arab world.

“We no longer believe in a system that has not given us throughout the years except corruption and hate for each other, we are sick and tired of poverty and very few job opportunities, we want equality between the people,” said Yara, a 20-year-old journalism student.

Lebanon is governed by a delicate power-sharing system to maintain the balance between the country’s many sects. By long-standing convention the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the Parliament speaker a Shiite Muslim.

For the several groups that called for the march, and used Facebook to spread their message, the turnout for the first such protest was encouraging.

“I believe that what happened today is an achievement on the road to demolishing this sectarian system,” said Nehmat Badreddine, the spokesperson for the demonstration organizers.

“We believe that things will improve. We haven’t yet decided when our next move is, but we will announce it soon.”

The organizers distributed a leaflet saying they demanded a “secular, civil, democratic, socially just and equal state” and called for an increase in the minimum wage and lower prices for basic goods.

Although the effort was markedly critical of the March 14 and March 8 camps, the Future Movement fielded a small group of protestors, in a “symbolic” participation.

“We in the Future Movement are against this sectarian regime, although some sides in the country are trying to manipulate us in order to be involved in the sectarian game that is going on in the country,” said Wissam Shibli, the general coordinator of Future’s youth section.

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