On Wednesday The Syndicate Coordination Committee marched in protest from the Ministry of Education UNESCO towards the Grand Serail downtown Beirut.
The SCC promised to paralyse the country if the cabinet failed to refer the new wages scale draft law to the parliament during a session expected to be held at the Baabda Palace.
SCC protest passed by Sanayeh near the headquarters of the Economic Committees, to make their struggle visible and their voices heard by the employees of the Economic Committees, while marching to the Grand Serail.
At its final destination in Riad El Solh Square Nehme Mahfouz, head of Private School Teachers Syndicate, gave a loud demandful speech and threatened an open-ended strike.
The protest today had a substantial turnout teachers (public/privet), students, women syndicates, and workers came from across the country and settled in front of the cabinet shouting out their demands.
While the security situation deteriorates in the ongoing dysfunctional country (Lebanon) a massive deployment of security cordoned the protest from start to end. The deployment was made of, almost, each and every security system: the Panthers: police special forces, the police, riot police, the army, the army special forces, and the most visible of all were the “slick” intelligence and undercover security members. At first one might be led to think those protesting teachers where about to militarily topple the sectarian regime, or something. At times through the huge security deployment, that outnumbered the peaceful protesters, one might think they were about to liberate something. However the security men were busy looking at girls while they were placed to protect the rich and their properties in occupied downtown Beirut. Oh, before I forget they even brought a fire-fighting truck as well, which got me and my friends excited; we thought we might end-up taking a public shower since Beirut has been dry of water for the last two weeks and counting. I know you are thinking: Lebanon is full of rivers and rich with water, its true, but somehow we don’t use this water-fortune we have. We prefer if it went to the sea, because we are simply Lebanese and capable of outsmarting any thing even the god(s) (18 sects in Lebanon) we pray to.
Any way the protest today was one of those events that gave me a dose of hope. The solidarity atmosphere present at the protest today drew a smile on my face and reassured me that there are people in Lebanon still willing to challenged the moneyed political class through public demands and pressure.
A sum up of the speeches made:
-Member of Association of Public Secondary School Education Teachers Mohammed Qassem: “We want an amended wage scale that would be provided in one step as soon as possible. This issue should be addressed at today’s cabinet session”.
-Head of the private school teachers association Nehme Mahfoud: “Private teachers didn’t yet get paid the cost of living index. We will paralyse the country until the cabinet refers the new wages scale draft law to the parliament. We reject imposing new taxes on the people under the pretext of funding the new salaries scale”.
–Mahmoud Ayoub: “The new wages scale is aimed at retrieving our rights that were taken by the inflation and increase in prices”.
-Head of Public Secondary School Education Teachers Association Hanna Gharib: “urged protesters to get ready for any escalations if the cabinet failed to meet its promises”.
PS: where were the usual, protests, suspects today?