Collective actions in Lebanon from November 2017 to October 25, 2019

Mapping mobilization across Lebanon

Photo by Greg Demarque | Executive
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The infographic below is based on data from the Map of Collective Actions that tracks mobilizations by groups of people across Lebanon whose goal is to achieve a common objective. The map is a project by Lebanon Support, a local non-profit research center for and about civil society.

This visual looks into the build- up of mobilizations from November 2017 (when data collection started) until October 25, highlighting the focus of protests on access to socio-economic rights (mobilizations related to a lack of protection and rights, inefficiency of the justice system, and persisting social and economic vulnerabilities) over the years and leading up to the October demands for change.

The infographic shows that these ongoing nationwide protests are not new—various groups have been mobilizing for years, notably around social and economic demands. This year, up until October 16, 200 collective actions were mapped; there were 188 in 2018 and 96 in 2017. The main demands, across all three years, were focused on wages and the salary scale, the new rent law, and increasing prices and inflation—illustrating the socioeconomic difficulties faced by the people. Of the collective actions mapped this year, 89 percent (508 collective actions) were linked to access to socioeconomic rights. Collective actions linked to socioeconomic grievances have increased steadily and exponentially from 2017 until October 25 this year (the cut-off point for the infographic). The October 17 to 25 period highlighted below saw a sudden peak in collective actions seeking radical change on the level of society or the political system.

The 308 collective actions mapped between October 17 and 25 are all linked to socioeconomic grievances and policy grievances (mobilizations around political decisions on matters of public concern), and constitute 60 percent of the total number of collective actions mapped since the beginning of the year. Bearing in mind that protesters often employed more than one mode of action during the same mobilization, the main modes of action in this period consisted of: roadblocks (76 percent), tire burning (68 percent), demonstrations (60 percent), and sit-ins (38 percent).

Observing and mapping collective actions over a longer period allows Lebanon Support to deconstruct generalizations in the media, academia, and elsewhere on Lebanon’s social mobilizations and show that people in Lebanon are continuously mobilizing, using various modes of action, and in response to a diversity of grievances not merely limited to partisan and/or confessional affiliations.

Based on Lebanon Support’s ongoing monitoring of collective actions, this infographic contributes to show the accumulation of successive movements over time, thus steering away from normative and linear perspectives on these mobilizations and predictions or expectations on the outcomes of protests. So far, one of the main outcomes and breakthroughs of this latest mobilization is that it has contributed to breaking the boundaries of fear and clientelistic and patronage relations with traditional sectarian and political leaders, notably outside of the capital (in Tripoli and Sour, for example).

Ultimately, it is the view of Lebanon Support that all these street mobilizations underline the urgency of a new social contract whereby citizens reclaim the Lebanese state. One that is based on social justice, redistributive policies, and progressive taxes.

Click on image to enlarge

Lebanon Support is a non-profit, local, multidisciplinary research center for and about civil society in Lebanon.

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