Lebanese hold 'civil parade' to celebrate Independence Day

Beirut [Lebanon], Nov 23 (ANI): Thousands of Lebanese, representing various groups, from students and farmworkers to scouts, hikers and bikers, on Friday (local time) organised a civilian march in downtown Beirut for the first time to celebrate the country's 76th Independence Day, the local media reported. According to Xinhua news agency, the parade comes a month after the country witnessed nationwide protests against the ruling political class leading to the resignation of the government of caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Protesters were keen to organise this year a parade of their own while hoping to realise their dreams of changing the whole political system, which is based on sectarianism by creating a secular state that acts in favour of Lebanon and its people. "Independence is for the people, not for the politicians or the army," Samer Abboud, an unemployed 27-year-old told Al Jazeera from Beirut's Martyr's Square. "They usually do their parades here and close the road on us. This time we're closing the road and celebrating the nation," added Abboud. Nationwide protests started on October 17 following attempts by the past government to impose taxes on the citizens without resorting to the implementation of real structural reform measures. Protesters vowed not to leave the streets before witnessing real changes, including the fight against corruption by recuperating stolen public funds. Meanwhile, Lebanese politicians and top officials of the government, earlier in the day, gathered to celebrate the yearly traditional Independence Day at the Defence Ministry in Yarze. The official parade was supposed to take place in central Beirut, but it was called off due to protests in the area. (ANI)

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