Timeline of events in Iraq and Lebanon


Photo: Roger Asfar

In October 2019, mass protests took place both in Lebanon and Iraq. Both movements did not only break out nearly simultaneously, the people on the street express also similar grievances and demands: against the dominant political system and against the dominant political elite, against confessionalism, clientelism and corruption, against political violence and arbitrariness, against neoliberal and capitalist politics, against the established political system and regime, and therefore for a reinvention of political practice and system in both countries. Media coverage in English and German  Lebanon and Iraq is rather scarce. This timeline therefore offers an overview of the most crucial events and dates following the uprising in both Lebanon and Iraq, seeking answers to some of the most important issues within the protest movements: Why are people taking to the streets? Who are they? What are their demands? And how are the governments handling the protests


January 2023


Families of Beirut port blast victims stage mass sit-in

As the investigation of the August 2020 Beirut blast continues to be obstructed by the murk of Lebanese politics, Families of the victims continue to stage protests and sit-ins demanding accountability and transparency in the investigation process. In January 2023, almost 3 years after the explosion with no result in sight, Families gathered outside the Justice Palace to prevent the higher judicial council from replacing the lead judge on the investigation, an attempt the political elite has been trying to achieve in order to protect and release suspects in custody


December 2022


Boat capsized in Salaata Northern Lebanon

At least two migrants were confirmed to have died while over 200 were rescued on Saturday when their boat sank off Lebanon's northern coast, from where increasing numbers of people are trying to make the risky journey to flee their collapsed economy. According to reports from Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest and most impoverished city, there were Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian men, women and children were on board the boat

October 2022


Protests in memory of October uprising are suppressed in Baghdad`s Tahrir Square:

Iraqis held demonstrations to mark the anniversary of October 2019. Demonstrators gathered in Tahrir square and adjacent areas with facing heavy security measures and suppression of their demonstration.

September 2022


Boat sinking in the sea

In September 2022, a boat carrying migrants, refugees and Lebanese departed from Lebanon and capsized off Syrian coast where 94 people are killed and many are declared. Migration through the Mediterranean and off the Lebanese coast from Tripoli became one of the main migration means since 2011 as the Syrian crisis and it amplified on 2019 with the increasingly deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon and the increase in anti-refugee and migrant sentiments that are used by politicians as a scapegoat for the economic and financial crisis.

August 2022


اشتباكات عسكرية في بغداد خاصة بين التيار الصدري وقوات النظام

تسببت الاشتباكات التي استمرت يومين بين أنصار مقتدى الصدر وقوات الحشد الشعبي في مزيد من التشرذم في النسيج الاجتماعي العراقي وكادت تدفع بالبلاد إلى شفا حرب أهلية. يستمر العنف السياسي بين الميليشيات في زعزعة استقرار البلاد


Bank Heists

As the banks in Lebanon confiscated most assets and accounts since 2019 amid the economic collapse, most people to resort to extreme measures when faced the increasingly desperate circumstances. Account holders either filed lawsuits against banks or went to the extreme of doing bank heists using real or prop guns to retrieve their money that was deposited and held by the bank.

July 2022

turkish attack

Renewed Turkish Bombardment in Iraqi Kurdistan

In response to the Turkish artillery strikes on the Northern Iraqi areas, protesters gathered around the Turkish embassy to condemn the strikes on the touristic resort.

May 2022


Protests in Shingal/Sinjar by independent youth movement against war

As the Turkish government resumes its military operations in Northern Iraq mainly in Kurdish areas, people came out demanding an end to the war and the military intervention of all sides. In Shingal/Sinjar, the independent youth movement organized a protest and demanded to stop all military activities. The action influenced demonstrations in Babylon and Baghdad to participate and support people in Sinjar against military activities in the city.


Lebanese Elections

The election in 2022 mark the first election after the uprising and economic collapse the country faced since 2019. Although the alignment of the traditional political elite together is evident, there has been a group of independent individuals with alternative political stance who are running for the parliament and who have been active participants in the uprising. Although the majority of parliamentary seats were taken by traditional political parties the results indicate positive breakthroughs and progress and  several nuances indicating that much greater change is still needed to put the country on a steady path to recovery.

April 2022

april boat

Migrant boat sinks off Lebanon’s Tripoli shore

In April, a boat carrying 84 people capsized off Qalamoun, near Tripoli, after being intercepted by the Lebanese navy everal survivors told the media that the Lebanese naval vessel deliberately rammed their boat in an effort to force it back to Lebanon.


November 2021


Suleimania Protest

Sulaymaniya University Students demonstrate as the security forces intensifies violence against students.


Inability to form a coalition government following the interim government of Al-Kathimi

After the government had stepped down in response to the Iraqi October Uprising 2019, Mustafa Al-Kathimi had stepped in as an interim government. Even though, there were elections in October 2021, it took the parliament almost a year, until October 2022 when the current government with prime minister Mohammed Shia` Al-Sudani was formed

October 2021


Tayouneh Clashes

In attempt to oppose the lead judge probing the Beirut Port 2020 explosion, a protest took place from the allies and supporter of the government against the ongoing investigation which resulted in an exchange of fire with snipers, pistols and automatic rifles causing an increase in political and sectarian tension.

August 2021

august 4 2021

1st year memorial of the Beirut Port Blast

Hundreds of people march to mark the one year anniversary of Beirut port explosion that devastated the country. The police scuffled with the angry protestors who were demanding accountability and transparent investigation for the people responsible for the explosion. Riot police responded to protestors by firing tear gas and water cannon and beating demonstrators with batons.

April 2021

Women's march

Women’s March.

Women and allies in Lebanon marched against outdated laws, harassment, inequality, transphobia, the Kafala (sponsorship) system, and more on March 8, 2021 for International Women's Day. The pile of the financial crisis, the repercussion of COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion had a disproportional impact on women and young girls who suffered from displacement, domestic violence and increased unemployment. Women and fem in Lebanon face multiple layers of obstacles deeply embedded in the Lebanese laws and constitution, from lack of full civil rights, passing the nationality to their children, racism and stereotypes


Dhi Qar Protest

University Graduates storm and close the Dhi Qar Oil Company, protesting the lack of job opportunities for themselves.

March 2021


Assassination of Ali Jasseb's Father

After having killed the activist in the October uprising, Ali Jaseb, Islamic militias have now also killed his father who never stopped claiming the right of his son and for the prosecution of criminal militias

February 2021


Protest against confidence for the new administration

Mass protests take place in central Beirut as MPs gather for a confidence vote for the new administration. The protesters tried to block politicians from entering Parliament to vote on the new administration that was opposed to by the demonstrators. Security forces continue to use intensive force and crack down on protesters leaving 280 people wounded and hospitalized. The protests erupted in response to the persistence of the ruling class to re-invent itself under the new administration without proper plan for social and financial reform that addresses the economic crisis

January 2021


Protests and clashes in Tripoli erupt against nationwide COVID-19 lockdown measures

The imposed nationwide COVID-19 lockdown measures have worsened the economic situation in Lebanon and especially in deprived areas such as Tripoli who was one of the city overtaken by a chronic economic crisis. Many of its residents are left without an income since Lebanon imposed a full lockdown to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases and prevent its hospitals being overwhelmed. The extended lockdown angered laborers and other vulnerable groups prompting them to take the streets in protest and demonstrations causing clashes with the police using excessive force injuring 45 people in the overnight clashes.


Market Explosion

Two explosions happened in a popular market in middle of Baghdad, Bab AL-Sharqi. The death toll is estimated as 28 dead and 73 injured.


December 2020


Kurdistan Iraq protests

In Iraqi Kurdistan, people continue their demonstrations against injustice and corruption. The demonstrations have been sparked the delay and/or lack of salaries, unemployment, and lack of services. People are calling for the dissolving of the Iraqi Kurdish government. Security forces tried to disperse the protesters, using violent means as well as arresting many activists and organizers of the protests

October 2020


Iraqi uprising anniversary in Baghdad

In Bagdad, also people protest together for the demands and the anniversary of the Iraqi October Uprising in 2019 while the government of Al-Kathemi uses violence to disperse protestors.

october uprising

Iraqi Uprising anniversary

As part of the anniversary of the Iraqi October Uprising of 2019,  the Al-Habubi Square in the city of Nasiriya remains strong where thousands of people come together protesting against the sectarian regime in Iraq

August 2020

hassan diab

Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced that he and his entire cabinet had resigned following anger over the Beirut explosions

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab stepped down from his job on Monday in the wake of the disastrous Beirut port explosion that triggered public fury saying he has concluded that corruption in Lebanon is “bigger than the state”. The resignation of the Prime minister comes after the resignation of the minister of environment, minister of information and multiple parliamentary representatives. Diab’s government was formed after the resignation of PM Saad al Haririr. Diab’s government did not manage to implement the sweeping political and economic reforms that it had promised

Clean up initiatives

Clean up initiatives.

In the aftermath of the explosion and due to the lack of resources and unwillingness in governmental institutions to provide and immediate response, many community and youth initiatives took the street in a coordinated effort to help and support in the cleanup and donations of food and medical aid.


احتجاجات الكهرباء

في مدينة الناصرية ، اقتحمت حشود من الناس مديرية الكهرباء وطردوا المدير بسبب قلة التيار الكهربائي في ظل إرتفاع درجات الحرر في البلد

August 9

Protesters in Lebanon called on the government to end the neglect that caused the 4 August explosion:

A widespread outrage and demonstrations took place in Lebanon after the Beirut Port blast

Daily protests have continued for more than a week on Beirut's debris-strewn streets, with citizens calling for removal of the entire political class and a restructuring of the country's political system.  Protesters who had turned out to demand accountability for one of the biggest explosion in Lebanon were met by teargas and rubber bullets. Police also shot live ammunition in the air, in an attempt to disperse the furious crowds.

Citizen demanded to sweep away the corruption and cronyism that have plagued governmental institutions for decades while seeking fair and impartial investigation.

Beirut Port Explosion

Beirut port explosion occurs killing over 200 people and injuring 6,000

On 4 August 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the Port of Beirut in the capital city of Lebanon exploded, causing at least 218 deaths, 7,000 injuries, as well as leaving an estimated 300,000 people homeless and destroying the grain Silos that contain 85% of the country’s grain. The blast was so powerful that it physically shook the whole country of Lebanon. It was felt in neighboring countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, and Jordan. The Lebanese government declared a two-week state of emergency in response to the disaster. In its aftermath, protests erupted across Lebanon against the government for their failure to prevent the disaster, joining a larger series of protests that had been taking place across the country since 2019.

The long lasting corruption and omission of facts across governmental institutions resulted in the docking of ammonium nitrate (highly explosive material) in a civilian area without appropriate management or knowledge to the public. The long-term environmental and health effect remains unaccounted for with many particle matter and toxins emitted in the air


اغتيال تحسين أسامة

الميليشيات الموالية لإيران تغتال الناشط السياسي تحسين أسامة في مقر عمله بالبصرة.

May 2020


الكاظمي وقوى الحشد الشعبي

رئيس الوزراء العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي يزور مقر قوات الحشد الشعبي مرتديا زي الحشد الشعبي. هذه هي المرة الأولى التي يظهر فيها رئيس وزراء عراقي بزي الحشد الشعبي. ويعتبر ناشطون عراقيون الزيارة خيانة لوعد الكاظمي بإعادة حقوق المتظاهرين بسبب تورط الميليشيات في قمع الاحتجاجات.

may 2020

Mustafa Al Kathemi inauguration

The Iraqi Parliament has inaugurated the government of Mustafa Al Kathemi. It was accompanied by a strong media campaign, including social media, in support of Mustafa Al-Kathemi. The main messages were to restrict weapons of the state, to eliminate terrorism, to create jobs as well as respond to other demands by the protestors. 

At the same time, on May 10, demonstrators took to the streets and squares for sit-ins in various cities of Iraq. They announced that May 10 is the day of the Iraqi revolution, and its return since the pause during the corona virus outbreak


Demonstrations across Lebanon to demand the release of the detainees

Protesters demonstrate in front of Fransabank branches in Halba, Beirut, Sidon, Tyre, Nabatieh, and Tripoli, to demand the release of the detainees Mahmoud Mrouweh and Wadah Ghenwi, whom Fransabank accused of attacking its Sidon branch. In front of that same branch, Siba Mrouweh - daughter of detainee Mahmoud - reads out a statement that holds the central bank governor, the ruling class, and the banks, altogether responsible for the deteriorating living conditions in the country.


رئيس الوزراء الجديد والتظاهرات المناهضة للحكومة

البرلمان العراقي يمنح الثقة لحكومة رئيس الوزراء المكلف مصطفى الكاظمي منهية شهورا من الجمود السياسي. كان من المقرر أن يبدأ التصويت في الساعة 9:00 مساءً. بالتوقيت المحلي ، لكنها بدأت بعد منتصف الليل ، حيث تم إجراء تعديلات في اللحظات الأخيرة لإرضاء الأحزاب السياسية. متظاهرون مناهضون للحكومة يتظاهرون في مدن بغداد والناصرية والكوت للتظاهر ضد تشكيل حكومة جديدة برئاسة رئيس الوزراء مصطفى الكاظمي. كما قام المتظاهرون بإحراق عدد من الإطارات على جسر الجمهورية الذي أغلقته القوات الأمنية لمنع المتظاهرين من الوصول إلى المنطقة الخضراء. وبحسب ما ورد ألقى المتظاهرون الحجارة وزجاجات المولوتوف على قوات الأمن التي استخدمت خراطيم المياه والغاز المسيل للدموع لتفريق الحشد.


Torture and violence against the detainees in Saida

The Lawyers Committee issues its statement regarding the detainees in Saida, south of the capital Beirut, that the majority of the detainees were not allowed to make any contact or exercise any of their rights since their arrest on March 30 until after the intervention of the Defence Committee. It affirms that many detainees are subjected to excessive violence during their arrest and within the transport vehicles and places of detention, with the aim of getting information and punishing them. It also points out that the majority of those arrested were forcibly disappeared without knowing the direction and place of their detention for several days. Some of the detainees confirm that they were subjected to torture and beatings by the Military Intelligence especially through electrocution. A number of the detainees had to enter the hospital to receive treatment immediately after their release.

April 2020


Renewed protests in Lebanon despite lockdown and the death of Fawwaz al-Samman

On April 21st, dozens of protesters pour back onto the streets of many cities in Lebanon, furious at rising poverty and hardship. One week later, many shop and hair salon owners hold a sit-in in Tripoli demanding the government to allow them to go back to work. The protesters say that they are unable to feed their children due to the economic crisis, rising food prices and COVID-19 containment measures. Two days later, dozen Lebanese banks across the country are torched and vandalised during the second consecutive night of angry protests fuelled by frustration over the national currency's unfettered depreciation. Hundreds of demonstrators take to the streets from Beirut to southern Sidon along with Nabatieh, the Bekaa Valley, and Tripoli and Akkar in the north. In Tripoli, the army soldiers fire live ammunition, which resulted in the death of the 26th year old protestor Fawwaz al-Samman.



The Sadr alliance declares support for Al-Zurfi

Members of parliament of the “Sa’eeron” coalition, the largest group in the Iraqi parliament that is led by Muqtada al-Sadr, announce their support for the Prime Minister-designate, Adnan Al-Zurfi. The position of the Sadr alliance stands in contrast to the Shiite political blocs, which stresses its rejection of Adnan Al-Zarfi, claiming that he is “unconstitutional”, and that he is “close to the United States”. Eight Iraqi armed factions demand that the political forces announce their rejection of Al-Zurfi. As a reaction the latter resigns from his appointment as Prime minister-designate. In the following, President Barham Salih assigns intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Kazemi who has good ties to all major players on the Iraqi scene. Protesters across Iraq had rejected the appointment of Al-Zurfi and immediately announce their rejection of Al-Kazemi.


March 2020


Waning influence of Iran in Iraq

Four major Shiite factions announce their withdrawal from the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the former Najaf governor Adnan Al-Zurfi is nominated to head the next government. Both steps can be seen as a serious blow for Iran’s proxies in Iraq at a time when the latter have not yet recovered from the loss of the commander of the Quds-Forces Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Chairman of the PMF Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in an American strike near Baghdad airport. The reasons for the withdrawal of the four factions are internal differences and their opposition to the increasing influence of Iran within the PMF.



The Corona lockdown and the destruction of the tents

The Lebanese government announces a state of emergency on Monday, March 16, due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus. Individuals in Lebanon are urged to stay at home and limit all non-essential movement. Shops, restaurants, schools, universities and the airport are closed. The government uses the imposed lockdown to crack down on the protest movement. On March 27, the riot police forcibly clears dozens of people from protest encampments and destroys their tents in Downtown Beirut.


Women’s Day March through Beirut despite coronavirus

Hundreds of people walk through the streets of Beirut for the annual International Women’s Day March, although it has officially been cancelled amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus. Women were very active in Lebanon’s mass protests often acting as human barriers between security forces and demonstrators. The yearly march raises feminist demands such as gender equality, LGBTQ rights and the fall of religious courts and their legislation.

February 2020


Government gains vote of confidence while protesters demonstrate to show ‚No confidence’

The vote of confidence session is held against a backdrop of protests against Diab’s government and against the ruling class in general. Clashes break out throughout the morning between protesters and security forces in different locations around the Beirut Central District. On Saturday, thousands of protesters demonstrate in the streets of Beirut under the slogan “No confidence, no legitimacy – you will pay the price.”


New withdrawal caps at the banks and the struggle over the Eurobond decision

Major banks in Lebanon begin tightening capital controls, halving the amount of US-dollars depositors are allowed to withdraw every month, despite growing public anger. Due to a dollar liquidity crisis, banks have imposed informal controls on dollar withdrawals and transfers abroad since September. In light of this liquidity crisis, Lebanon’s authorities are struggling to decide what to do about a $1.2 billion Eurobond maturing in March.


The nomination of Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi

Former Iraqi Minister of Communications Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi announces his official assignment by President Barham Salih to the post of Prime Minister. Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr take control of the Turkish restaurant building near Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, in conjunction with the announcement of Allawi. Protesters gather in Baghdad and other cities across Iraq to oppose the nomination of Allawi. One person gets killed. He was reportedly attacked by a group of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr supporters who sought to repress the anti-government movement. While al-Sadr supports the nomination of Allawi and asked his supporters to withdraw from the streets, other protesters in the movement do not support the new prime minister. Al-Sadr has gone as far as calling his supporters to partner with security forces to clear protesters from streets.

January 2020


The 2020 budget

The Parliament passes the 2020 budget in an attempt to redress the economic and financial crisis, with only 70 out of the 128 members attending the session, and 49 votes in favor of passing the budget. The budget's aim is to lower the deficit of gross domestic product to 7%. Critics denounce the 2020 budget as a “useless piece of paper” with “rosy assumptions about the crisis-torn economy,” according to Aljazeera and is therefore not expected to convince Lebanese protesters to end their demonstrations against the ruling elite.


A new government

After a month of negotiations with PM candidate Diab, President Michel Aoun announces the formation of a new cabinet with 20 minister, whom he describes as “technocrats” without any affiliations or loyalties to ruling parties. The government would therefore meet the protester's demands for political change. While Hassan Diab's new government is backed by the biggest Shia Muslim factions, Hezbollah and Amal, and President Aoun's Christian Free Patriotic Movement. Former PM's Sunni Future Movement, the Christian Lebanese Forces party as well as the Progressive Socialist Party of Druze Leader Walid Jumblatt refuse to participate in the new government. The cabinet includes e.g. economist and Finance Minister Ghazy Wasni, as well as former ambassador to the Arab League turned Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti, it also counts six women – among them Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Zeina Akar and Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm – but overall, the line-up of Ministers shows a trend in representation of the “main political oligarchs and parties with Hezbollah,” President of the Middle East Institute Paul Salem says, predicting a mere shadow-government run by the handful of men “clinging to their power.” Hours after the announcement, thousands take to the street in protest of the new government, sparking more violent clashes.


Continuous killing

After the killing of approximately ten demonstrators and the injury of dozens of others as a result of excessive use of force by Iraqi security forces, human rights activists in Iraq express concerns about the continued killing by live bullets and tear gas canisters. They demand international intervention to protect peaceful protesters.


Against US presence?

The deputy commander for the popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and Muqtada al-Sadr call for a mass mobilization for Friday, January 17, to oppose the US presence in the country. The Iraqi protest movement calls for boycott in a statement, saying that "The call that emanates from Iranian soil against Washington is politicized and does not serve Iraq."


The week of rage

Nationwide protests resume with road blocks of burning tires on major roads across the country. Demonstrators clash with security forces in front of the Central Bank in Beirut as well as Hassan Diab's house in Beirut. The next day a group of demonstrators gathers in front of the Helou police station in Beirut demanding the release of more than 50 people that were arrested the night before. The protest turns violent and at least 15 more people get arrested. Media and the Red Cross report up to 45 people injured, amongst them several journalists. This incident marks the beginning of escalation in a series of violent clashes in what is being called the “week of range.” Amidst the worsening economic crisis, nationwide electricity shortages, monthly withdrawing limits of US $200, and with still no formation of a new government in sight, protestors begin smashing bank windows and ATMs. Anti-government protesters trying to get to Martyrs' Square in downtown Beirut are met with violence by security forces, who yet again make use of water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas in an attempt to break up the gatherings, marking the most violent confrontations since the beginning of the protests in October. Protesters hit back with rocks, Molotov cocktails and firecrackers as well as shining lasers. Over the weekend, more than 500 people, including around 100 security forces, are hospitalized.



Big demonstrations take place in several regions around Iraq to confirm the revolution’s demands. Violent clashes take place in Baghdad to oppose the reassignment of former Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mehdi to form a new government. Two Dijlah TV journalists, reporter Ahmad Abdelsamad and cameraman Safaa Ghali, are fatally shot while covering anti-government protests in the south-eastern city of Basra.


The killing of Qassem Solaimani

A US-drone strike near Baghdad airport targets and kills Iranian Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani who was considered the second most powerful person of Iran. He is murdered while local allies from the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) drove him from Baghdad airport. The leader of the PMF, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is also killed in the attack. The death of Soleimani triggers celebrations on the streets of Baghdad, since protesters have been demonstrating since months against Iran’s influence on the Iraqi government.


December 2019


Siege of the US-embassy

Pro-Iranian protesters from the “Popular Mobilization Forces” break into the heavily guarded compound of the United States Embassy in Baghdad and set fire inside as a response to the US-American airstrikes two days before. The men later withdraw from the compound, joining thousands of protesters and militia fighters outside chanting “Death to America,” The protesters siege the compound and trap American diplomats in the embassy overnight before they withdraw after leaders of the Iranian-backed militias who had organized the demonstration call on the crowd to leave on the second day.


US-army strikes back

In an air strike carried out by the US-army at least 25 members of Hezbollah Brigade are killed, and many others wounded. Assistant Secretary of Defense Jonathan Rath Hoffman announces that the United States launched defensive strikes in Iraq and Syria against five Hezbollah Brigade facilities in response to recent attacks against the coalition forces.


Shutdown of the oilfield

Protesters storm the Nassiriya oilfield in southern Iraq, prompting a complete shutdown of the facility. The protesters force employees to shut off electricity to the oilfield from the control station. The facility produces roughly 90,000 barrels of crude oil per day.


Attack on Iraqi military base

At least 30 rockets hit the “K1” air base in Kirkuk, including an ammunition depot, causing more explosions and resulting in the death of an American contractor and the injury of several soldiers. The Kata’eb Hezbollah militia was made responsible for the attack.


The death of Thaer Al-Tayeb

Hundreds of protesters gather in Diwaniyah (Southern Iraq) to mourn an activist called Thaer Al-Tayeb, who died on Tuesday, December 24, following an explosion on December 15. Supporters of the activist set fire to headquarters of the pro-Iran militia “Bader Organization” who they accuse of the killing of Al-Tayeb.


A Christmas Dinner for those in need?

Hundreds of people come together on the day before Christmas to share a dinner on Martyrs' Square in Beirut, as one of many initiatives to bring people from different backgrounds together and to give back to those in need. The event was however also met with criticism surrounding its sponsors and organizers, one of them a wedding rental service as well as anonymous private donors. The year 2019 comes to an end with the economic crisis deepening. The newspaper An-Nahar reports that 265 restaurants and hotels had to close over the last two months.


Demand of a new Prime Minister

Thousands of protesters gather in cities across southern Iraq on Sunday, December 22, demanding the appointment of a new prime minister. Protesters call for general strikes and block roads and access to public buildings in Diwaniyah, Basra, Karbala, Najaf, and Nasiriyah.


Who will be the new prime minister?

Expecting Saad Hariri to be named Prime Minister yet again, a large group of demonstrators tries to make their way to Nejmeh Square in downtown Beirut. They are met with violence by Lebanese internal security forces deploying tear gas and rubber bullets. Lebanese Red Cross and Lebanese Civil Defence count at least 46 people were injured and taken to hospitals. After losing the backing by the main Christian Parties in parliament and being met with continuous opposition in the ongoing protest movement, former PM Saad Hariri announces that he will not be a candidate to form the next government as Prime Minister. A parliamentary session on 19 December concludes with naming “University professor” Hassan Diab to succeed as Prime Minister. In response to the announcement, protests culminate on 22 December with thousands taking to Martyrs' Square in Beirut. Protesters consider Diab, who is backed by Hezbollah and its allies but not by the main Sunni groups, as a member of the ruling elite and therefore reject him as a candidate.


Conference in Paris to press for a smooth formation of new government

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian calls together the International Support Group for Lebanon for a work meeting, co-chaired by the UN and France to come up with a plan to press the formation of an “effective and credible government that will take the decisions needed to ensure economic recovery and response to the aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people.” In Beirut, a group of protesters gathers in front of the French Embassy strongly rejecting foreign aid or assistance in the government-forming process.


Samir Khatib withdraws

In light of lacking support from Sunni religious authority, PM candidate Samir Khatib withdraws from consideration. Allegedly, a consensus had been reach to reinstate resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri. As a result, protesters gather outside parliament calling for an independent candidate, continuing the now almost two months lasting anti-government protests.


Protest against sexual violence

Approximately 1000 people, mostly women take to the streets Approximately 1000 people, mostly women take to the streets protesting sexual harassment and bullying. The march follows news about the Marwan Habib case, a personal trainer from Beirut, who has been accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women over a period of more than four years. More than fifty women have shared their experiences with Habib on social media. Three days earlier, a lawyer had filed a lawsuit against Habib, who publicly denied all accusations on the local television channel MTV.


Militias crack down

Militia Gunmen open fire on protesters in Baghdad's Khulani Square, killing at least 29 people and wounding 130. The incident occurred amid an ongoing stand-off between anti-government demonstrators and security forces on the nearby Jumhuriya, Sinak, and Ahrar bridges. The attack comes one day after 13 protesters were stabbed by unknown assailants in Tahrir Square.

November 2019


Women's unity march and the death of Naji Fleity

Taking a stand against violence, a group of women from the neighbourhood Achrafieh lead a march from the Ring Bridge in Beirut to the Khandaq al-Ghamiq neighbourhood, calling for unity regardless of sectarian background. They are greeted with flowers by female residents of the Khandaq neighbourhood. The two groups then together walk the street of the neighbourhood in unison. Meanwhile several cases of suicide are being linked to the deteriorating living conditions amid the worsening financial crisis, sparking public outrage. In Arsal, a father of two, Naji Fleity, 40, commits suicide after losing his job at a stone quarry leaving him unable to provide for his family.


Torching of the Iranian consulate in Najaf

Protesters set fire to the Iranian consulate in Najaf. Security forces fire live ammunition to disperse crowds outside the building, wounding at least 33 people. Authorities in Najaf immediately declare a curfew following the attack. At least six people are killed on Wednesday amid ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad and Karbala.


Talks about the nomination of a new PM

Resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri announces that he will not re-run for the position. Meanwhile, businessman Samir Khatib says he is prepared to form a new government following Hariri's withdrawal. Overnight, clashes occur all across the country: Hezbollah and Amal supporters destroy tents of protesters. In Bikfaya, supporters of Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement clash with followers of the Kataeb Party in front of former President Amin Gemayel's residency, leading to injuries, destruction and intervention by the Lebanese Army.


Clashes on the Ahrar Bridge

At least ten people are killed and another 45 injured in anti-government protests in Baghdad following clashes with security forces on Friday, November 22. Clashes occur on the Ahrar bridge, where security forces and protesters fought for its control. Further clashes are reported on Al-Rasheed Street for a second consecutive day.


Five youths detained

Lebanese military intelligence detains five youths, including three minors aged 12-15 after they took down a poster of President Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement party. Due to the intervention of volunteer lawyers, the children are released just after midnight.


Independence Day

The 76th anniversary of Lebanon's independence from France is marked by nationwide civil marches and protests, with thousands taking to the streets. Approximately 10.000 gather on Martyr's Square in Downtown Beirut for a “civil parade,” with more than 40 different groups of e.g. teachers, doctors, army veterans, mothers, environmentalists joining the protest. In Tripoli in the North of the country, protesters demand the release of an imprisoned political activist.


Clashes with riot police

Protesters gather in Downtown Beirut to stop MPs reaching the Parliament and clash with riot police and security forces which were deployed in large numbers in anticipation of these events. At least one woman is injured. The parliamentary session is postponed. President Michel Aoun assures continuing talks with experts, politicians and representatives of the revolution in order to reach an agreement for a new government.


Protests at schools and universities

Protests in schools and universities are ongoing across Iraq as part of a one-day general strike in support of those holding a sit-in at Tahrir Square.


Protests, art and picnics

Across the country people gather for painting sessions (Downtown Beirut), picnic sit-ins outside the Jiyyeh power plant and in the Bisri Valley protesting the heavily disputed planned construction of a new dam. In Tripoli, many people take to the streets in a large anti-corruption demonstration.


The revolution bus

The protest bus is on the road again, attempting to fulfil its mission to cross the country from south to north after being held up by the Lebanese Army close to Sidon. A group of people gathers at the southern entrance to the city accusing the people on board of receiving funding from foreign powers and being affiliated with the Lebanese Forces party. The claims are strongly rejected by supporters of the bus project.


Further violence

Security forces use live fire and tear gas to disperse protesters in Khulani Square in Baghdad to push them back to Tahrir square, killing three people and wounding dozens of others.


Army Arrests

Thousands attend Alaa Abou Fakhr’s funeral while the protests continue. The army arrests approximately 24 people, 12 of them in the northern suburb Jal El Dib. Two are still unaccounted for. An official statement in the evening announces former Minister of Finance Mohammad Safadi to take over the task of forming a government while serving as Prime Minister. Protesters reject Safadi, a representative of the old elite.


Baghdad Faces New Pressure from the UN

Security Forces in Baghdad kill at least four protesters, 50 more injured from tear gas and live ammunition. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani expresses solidarity with protesters. The government faces new pressure from the UN to push for reforms and to cease the violenceActivist Saba al-Mahdawi is being released 11 days after her abduction.

12 nov

Protests Once Again

After several days relative calm, the protests in Iraq flare again. Especially teachers, students and university students take to the streets demanding an end to the government’s violence.


Death of Alaa Abou Fakhr

In his third public address, President Michel Aoun calls on protesters to leave the country should they not find political representation in Lebanon. His remarks causes great outrage: on the Highway in Khalde, one of the protesters, Alaa Abu Fakhr is shot dead by a member of the army. In response to his death, protesters block roads all over the country.


Parliament Still Not in Session

First public statement by Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri since the beginning of the protests in which he postpones the parliamentary session scheduled for November 12th by one week. The purpose of this session was voting on a general amnesty. Protesters had announced new roadblocks to keep MPs from attending the session. Central Bank Governor Riad Salamé dismisses intentions of implementing a haircut on customer’s deposits and ensures the Central Bank’s ability and willingness to maintain the currency peg to the USD. In his third public address, General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah calls for measures to fight corruption and strengthen the economy, while maintaining his opposition to the protests. Bank employees in open strike.

10 nov

Sit-Ins and Protests

Protesters continue to organize sit-ins in front of companies, state institutions and residences of politicians, as well as private properties that are considered public spaces (e.g. the privatized marina Zaytouna Bay). At night, mass protests all over the country.

nov 9

Abdul-Mahdi’s Statement

In his speech, Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi acknowledges mistakes made by himself and political parties, announces comprehensive reforms. At the same time, security forces once again turn to extreme violence against protesters. At least 5 people are killed.

8 nov

Government of Technocrats?

Still no progress in forming a new government. Media sources claim: Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah push for a mixed government with technocrats and party members, while the “Future Movement” insists on purely technocratic leadership. Meanwhile, student protests and sit-ins continue.


Beginning of Student Protests

In Saida, Tripoli and Nabatieh, high-school students join the protests for the first time. No progress in forming the government.


Roadblocks and Strikes

Again, protesters block roads all over Lebanon and announce the second general strike since the beginning of the uprising.

sunday protest

Sunday Protests

In Baabda, followers of the “Free Patriotic Movement”, President Michel Aoun’s party, gather in front of the presidential residence to counter the ongoing protests. In an emotional public statement, the President yet again refuses any concessions. As a result, large demonstrations return to the streets of Beirut, Saida and Tripoli. Protests even take hold of more southern parts of Lebanon sporadically, but face much more severe counter strikes by Hezbollah and Harakat Amal.

3 nov

Roadblocks in Baghdad

Protesters in block major roads in Baghdad. In Karbala, the Iranian consulate is set on fire.

2 nov

Kidnapping Saba al-Mahdawi

Mass demonstrations in Baghdad and the south of Iraq, announced by the Teacher’s Syndicate. Violence and use of tear gas by security forces. The activist Saba al-Mahdawi is kidnapped by an unidentified militant group.


Cap on Cash Withdrawal

Banks across the country reopen for the first time in two weeks. Due to the shortage of USD, all banks introduce an “informal” cap on cash withdrawal. People wait in long lines in front of ATMS and bank counters, trying to secure cash in USD.


Nasrallah's Third Speech

In his third speech, Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah warns of the threat of chaos and condemns Prime Minister Hariri’s resignation.

Art work by Eleanor Shakespeare

Death of Activist Riham Yaqoob

An Iraqi activist Riham Yaqoob is hit by a tear gas canister and dies as a result of her injuries. This marks the first death of a woman during the protests.

October 2019

31 oct

The first protest in Baghdad

Protesters express their frustration over prevailing poverty, high unemployment rates, the continuing economic crisis, corruption, lack of essential state services, and the country’s dependency on Iran. It’s mostly young, politically unaffiliated men who take to the streets. The protests quickly spread to other regions and major cities, especially in the south of Iraq. Several unions join the movement, while many demand a national strike.


Visit of Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad

In his speech, President Barham Salih announces Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation, should the parliament agree on a new candidate. He also announces a new electoral law. At the same time, the Iranian Commander Qasem Soleimani arrives in Baghdad to discuss his alliance with al-Amiri in support for Abdul-Mahdi. Due to this open interference by Iran, the no-confidence vote is off the table until further notice.

30 oct

Vote of No Confidence

Protests continue, mostly in Baghdad and in the south of Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr and Hadi al-Amiri openly discuss the possibility of a vote of no confidence. Sadr calls for early elections. In Baghdad and Basra, students join the protests in large numbers. In Baghdad, approximately 2 Million take to the streets in one of the largest demonstrations since the beginning of the uprising.


Prime Minister Hariri Resigns

Around noon, Hezbollah and “Harakat Amal” followers armed with sticks attack the protesters on the blocked Ring road in Beirut, many injured. At 4pm, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigns.

29 october

Demonstrations in Karbala

Large protests in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala. Security Forces randomly shoot live ammunition at the crowds, estimates suggest 14 dead and 865 injured. In response, the protests sweep across the whole country. Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers join the protesters.


Economic Collapse

Riad Salamé, Governor of the Lebanese Central Bank – Banque du Liban- claims that the Lebanese economy will collapse, should the government fail to find a political solution.

28 oct

Death of Safaa Al-Saray

During the protests al-Saray, a political activist for many years, is hit by a tear gas canister and dies in the hospital only a few hours later. He is now often referred to as the face and symbol of the revolution in Iraq.

2728 oct

Student Protests

Mostly in Baghdad, Karbala, and Babel people continue to take to the streets. In Baghdad, students, university students and teachers gather in a large demonstration. Violence by security forces continues.


More Protests

Protests and strikes continue in Lebanon, predominantly in Sour, Nabatiyeh and Tripoli.

26 october

200 Dead, 7000 Injured

Protests continue in several regions all over Iraq. The estimated number of deaths rises to 200, as well as several thousand (approx. 7000) injured. Cause is the relentless violence by security forces and militias.

25 october

Mass-Demonstration in Tahrir Square

In Baghdad, mass protests commence at midnight in Tahrir Square. Violence by security forces.


Nasrallah Against Protests

Protests and strikes continue. In his second public address, Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah takes a definite position against the protests and sides with the government and the reforms proposed by Prime Minister Hariri.

green zone

Storming the "Green Zone"

Protesters try to storm the “Green Zone” in Baghdad, results in many casualties and injured through tear gas (asphyxation) and live ammunition. They demand reform of the constitution and the political system itself, campaigning for early elections and investigation of corruption.


President Aoun's Speech

Protests and strikes continue. In his first public speech since the beginning of the protests, President Aoun expresses sympathy but insists that only state institutions and government able to find solutions. He calls on the protesters to agree to negotiations with the government.

october 24

Second wave of Protests

In the evening, once again protests in Baghdad. Protesters prepare for mass demonstrations the following Friday. The Ministry of Interior declares nationwide state of emergency.


University Strikes

Faculties and students of all major Lebanese universities announce a general strike. Banks, schools, universities and state universities remain closed.


Hariri's Reform Proposal

Protests and strikes throughout the country. The 72-hour window for political action closes, and Prime Minister Hariri proposes several measures:

  • No new taxation
  • 50% reduction in salaries of several politicians: President, Ministers and MPs
  • Increase profit taxation of banks
  • Budget reductions for several state institutions
  • Establishment of an anti-corruption committee
  • Privatization of the telecommunications sector
  • State support for low-income families

Protesters in disbelief and anger, continue to demand the resignation of the government..

October Clashes

Two Million take to the streets

Mass protests all over Lebanon with up to two million people. They are the largest mass demonstrations since the end of the civil war in 1990.


General Strike

The uprising continues throughout the country, protesters call for a general strike, banks, schools and state institutions are closed. First clashes in Sour, where gangs of the Amal Movement “Haraket Amal” attack a group of protesters. In his first public statement since the beginning of the protests, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah claims sympathy for the movement, but pleads for patience. The Police fires tear gas in the crows, several protestors arrested.

October clashes2

Wave of Protests across the Country

More and more people join the protests the following day. They remain peaceful, refrain from representation of political parties, while flying Lebanese flags. Their demands mainly focus on economic, social and political justice. In a public address, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri sets a 72-hour deadline to find a political solution. Meanwhile, security forces try to break up the protests. Two Syrian workers die in a fire.

October Clashes

Sudden Mass Protests In Lebnaon

Following the announcement of additional taxes, sudden mass protests sweep across the Lebanese cities Beirut, Tripoli, Nabatiyeh, and Saida. Protestors block important roads throughout the country, demanding the government’s resignation and the “fall of the regime” (“Isqat al-nizam”).

october 7

Protests in Sadr City

The protest movement reaches Sadr City (East of Baghdad). Reports of several violent clashes between the people in Sadr City and Iranian militias.

october 6

Abdel Mahdi's Reform Proposals

The protests proceed, while security forces continue to respond with violence and repressions. Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi releases a proposal for measures to combat corruption, as well as a draft for social policy measures – rejected by the protestors.

october 5

Call for Dialogue

Security forces storm several offices of media agencies (television, newspapers). Mohammad al-Halbousi, the current Speaker of the Council of Representatives, calls for dialogue, a demand declined by the protestors.

october 4

Demands of the Grand Ayatollah

His Eminence, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, addresses the government in a public speech, demanding:

  • Improvement of public services
  • New opportunities for employment
  • Implementation of legal measures
  • Non-governmental independent committees to investigate and combat corruption
october 3

"The fall of the Regime"

Protests and demonstrations continue across the country, with protestors increasingly demanding the “fall of the regime” (formerly calling for “reform of the regime”). Amnesty International calls upon the security forces to cease all violence.


The murder of Hussein and Sarah

During the following day, large protests take place in several regions all over Iraq. The government imposes a nation-wide curfew and suspends all internet providers, with exception of regions with a predominantly Kurdish population. State security forces use tear gas as well as live ammunition against the demonstrators: several dozen killed and hundreds more injured. Armed militias continue to attack people on the streets and in their homes: Activists Hussein Adel and Sarah Taleb, a couple from Basra, are killed in their home.