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Building the revolution’s memory: Coders archive Lebanon’s protests

A collective of activists in Lebanon and abroad are archiving the Lebanese protests that broke out more than two months ago as a way to preserve the materials for future analysis.
Protesters use their mobile phones as a structure representing a fist is erected to replace a previous one that was burnt at Martyrs' Square in Beirut, Lebanon November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares - RC2JGD9MQQHD

Late on a smoggy Friday afternoon Dec. 13, three friends sat huddled around a laptop at Raseef coffeeshop in the Hamra neighborhood of Beirut. On Twitter, many Lebanese users urged people to head down to Martyrs’ Square to protest over the weekend. Thousands did, with state security forces tear gassing and shooting rubber bullets at demonstrators, who posted videos of the confrontations online.

With each day of the mass anti-government demonstrations that have swept Lebanon for the past 12 weeks, protesters are adding a new page to the country’s history books. To ensure their activism is not lost or distorted by the passage of time, a handful of tech-savvy citizens are working to preserve and archive materials associated with the demonstrations through open-source online projects. 

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