Hopes of young Lebanese to escape sectarianism put to test


Supporters of Lebanese President Michel Aoun hold his pictures and Lebanese flags during a protest near the presidential palace in the Beirut suburb of Baabda, Lebanon, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. Thousands of people are marching to show their support for Aoun and his proposed political reforms that come after more than two weeks of widespread anti-government demonstrations. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

BEIRUT (AP) – Lebanon’s protests are bringing out people from across the country’s spectrum of faiths and communities trying to throw out the entire ruling elite. They give a glimpse into a Lebanon transcending longtime divisions among sects.

But the young protesters face an entrenched political leadership that depends on sectarianism and an older generation that fears disrupting it could bring back civil war.

That threat resonates less with a generation that has little or no memory of a war that ended in 1990.

The protests erupted over proposed new taxes but snowballed into calls for the entire political elite to go. For them, sectarian power-sharing is bound together with corruption and mismanagement that has impoverished them and left infrastructure so decrepit that power outages hit every day.

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