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Coronavirus forces Lebanese protesters into new posture

Anti-government protests have largely subsided in Lebanon due to government measures aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, but some activists continue to spread the message and are optimistic about the movement's future.
BEIRUT, March 16, 2020 -- Police are seen on the street in Beirut, Lebanon, March 16, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in Lebanon increased on Monday to 109, the National News Agency reported. 
   Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on Sunday general mobilization until March 29 to restrict the spread of the virus. (Photo by Bilal Jawich/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Li Liangyong via Getty Images)

BEIRUT — Months after hundreds of thousands of people descended on Martyrs’ Square in Beirut to protest Lebanon’s sectarian political class, security forces forcibly destroyed the last few remaining tents in the city center on March 27. The reason given was the implementation of a curfew from 7 pm until 5 am, the latest measure enacted in Lebanon to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

“They didn’t warn us before. They attacked suddenly,” artist and protestor Hady Ezzeddin told Al-Monitor. Ezzeddin had been camping in Martyrs’ Square for months, but said he was forced out during the March 27 raid. “I feel upset about what happened, and I feel surprised.”

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