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Politics

Montrealers gather to protest Lebanese government

ABOVE: Montreal Lebanese community add their voice to worldwide protests

Montrealers took matters into their own hands on Sunday as they protested in front of the Lebanese consulate in solidarity with the Lebanese people demanding the government step down.

“[This demonstration] is a gesture in solidarity and support for our people in Lebanon who have for the past week taken to the streets to protest the governments repressive austerity policies,” said organizer Cynthia Kreichati.

“They’re asking and claiming their right of life and dignity and freedom.”

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According to the organizer, the protests are being held around the world because of the Lebanese governments’ harsh socio-economic policies.

“The health care system in Lebanon is highly privatized and unaffordable,” said Kreichati. “Some people sometimes die in front of the hospitals because they can’t afford the care.”

“Education is privatized and unaffordable, our rivers are polluted, there’s no clean drinking water in Lebanon,” Kreichati said.

Many claim to have left their homeland as a result of what they called ‘pure neglect and corruption’.

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“One of the reasons I’m here today is because I wasn’t given the basic rights that I’m supposed to have when I was in Lebanon,” said protester Tara Samaha.

“Its very important for me to be here today because I can’t be there in Lebanon and it kills me to see everybody there fighting for their rights on the streets,” Samaha said.

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“A lot of us have actually been forced out of the country because of these repressive measures,” Kreichati said.

The events began shortly after forest fires erupted across the country. The organizers said this was the fuel to the fire that had been bubbling inside them for over 30 years.

“Our forests last week burned almost entirely to the ground because of a complete neglect for our natural resources,” Kreichati said.

People around the world have been protesting in solidarity with Lebanon.

“For once we’re all united its not about factions, its not about sectarianism, its not about Sunni, Shia, Christian, we’re all Lebanese and we want new blood to give us hope to our beautiful country,” said protester Claude Marcos.

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Some even brought their children, to teach them important lessons about freedom, democracy and national pride.

“I want [my child] to understand the privilege he has here and I want him to never forget his roots,” Marcos said.

Global News reached out to the Lebanese consulate for comment but they were unavailable.