NGOs hold several marches for women’s rights

Around 500 people gathered in Downtown Beirut to hold a protest for women’s rights over the weekend. An initial group of around 300 women, men and children marched from Barbir Sunday, accompanied by the Lebanese Army, and headed for the Grand Serail, but police blocked off their route in Riad al-Solh.The group donned purple scarves and marched behind a Range Rover with speakers projecting their chants.
A source from the charity Norwegian People’s Aid told The Daily Star that more than 30 nongovernmental organizations took part in the march and that the groups had a list of 10 demands.
Among the demands were calls to create female quotas for Parliament, reform the electoral law and support the KAFA (enough violence and exploitation) draft law regarding violence against women, which is currently a topic of discussion in parliament.
“This is the first time feminist groups collaborate with Palestinian NGOs to demand rights,” said Sofia Darwich, Project Officer for Women’s Rights with NPA.
They were later joined by a second protest demanding the right for women to pass on the Lebanese nationality to their children that began outside the Interior Ministry in Sanayeh.
The head of the demonstration, Mustafa Shaar, said it was time for Lebanese women to pass their nationality on to their children.
“These are stateless people,” Shaar said emphatically, “if they are from Lebanon then they are Lebanese.”
“We were born in Lebanon and we will die in Lebanon,” Shaar said, before adding that in the 21st century it was shameful that Lebanon did not provide women with the right to pass on their nationality.
“Two months ago we started with 50-60 people,” Darwich said, as the protestors began to sing the Lebanese national anthem.
“This time we wanted to gather all the Lebanese and Palestinian men, women and children to hold a demonstration,” she said.
“This is not just one problem. It’s a problem in politics and inside the homes. It’s discrimination in all ways,” she added.