BEIRUT — Around 200 demonstrators mobilized Sunday during a rally against "the crimes of the patriarchal regime" and to show support for promoting the rights of marginalized groups in Lebanese society, in particular women, the LGBTQ+ community and refugees.
Here's what we know:
• The protesters gathered at the Ring Bridge in Downtown Beirut before marching toward the Ain al-Mreisseh area. Women walked at the head of the procession, clapping their hands and carrying a large sign denouncing the "crimes of the patriarchal regime." On another banner, the demonstrators castigated "the incitement, the starvation, the setting aside" of marginalized populations by Lebanon's leaders and their social and economic policies. Another banner read, "We are all the priority: women, refugees, LGBT, foreign workers."
• "We want to dance, we want to sing, we want to bring down the regime," the protesters chanted. Other slogans chanted during the course of the demonstration targeted religious courts, racism and domestic violence.
• The march was organized by a group of individuals under an Instagram page called "The Women's Movement" (Taharok Nasawi) and in solidarity with "women and marginalized groups targeted by systematic violent practices by the authorities, the media and certain sections of society."
• "These practices range from incitement to hatred and murder," the movement said on social networks, calling for "social change" and denouncing "the silence [around] and the absence of protective measures [against]" the practices of the authorities.
• Speaking to L'Orient Today following Sunday's march, one of the organizers, Hala Mezher, explained, the demonstration's "objective was not to demand anything from the state, because we don't see the state as legitimate. It was to be together and show solidarity for those who cant speak up or can't be there with us." In terms of future demonstrations, Mezher said the group does not have anything planned at present, but is "aiming to maintain this network that we've built and organize around it because we believe its important for these networks to exist separately from NGOs or organizations."