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Lebanese students refuse to go back to university

Lebanese demonstrators gather at Martyrs' Square and Riad Al Solh Square during an anti-government protest against dire economic conditions and new tax regulations on messaging services like Whatsapp, in Beirut, Lebanon on 19 October 2019. [Mahmut Geldi - Anadolu Agency]
Lebanese demonstrators gather at Martyrs' Square and Riad Al Solh Square during an anti-government protest against dire economic conditions and new tax regulations on messaging services like Whatsapp, in Beirut, Lebanon on 19 October 2019 [Mahmut Geldi/Anadolu Agency]

University students in Lebanon have refused to resume classes and decided instead to remain with the street protests until their demands have been met, Lebanese media reported today. This followed a decision by a number of universities, including the only government-run higher education institution, the Lebanese University, to reopen, despite the ongoing unrest.

Lebanese universities closed their doors on Friday, one day after the start of the wave of protests against the government. On Wednesday morning, the Education Minister said that he would leave it up to the boards of each university to decide whether to stay closed or resume classes.

Students on the streets pledged not to attend their classes and called for the universities to reconsider their decision.

“The majority of university students, faculty and administration members are putting their country first and will not be able to attend work or classes,” Hadi Saade, a student at the Lebanese American University, told Annahar newspaper. “The opening of the universities will discourage people from protesting because students cannot afford to waste the money paid for costly tuition, which is a ramification of the rising inflation rate.”

READ: In limbo as crisis rages, Lebanese banks remain shut

He added that students are calling upon all academic institutions to close their doors in support of the cause that their students believe in.

Tarek El Masri, a Professor at the same university, said, “I think it is still not appropriate to go back to class. We should keep learning from the streets, teaching the whole world what a civilised protest looks like, and affecting change in our country for the best of our tomorrows.”

Protests in Lebanon - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Protests in Lebanon – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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