Beirut pajama protest

The World

It all started two Saturdays ago at ten o’clock when residents were sick of music being blasted into late hours, valet parkers stealing their parking spots, and they were appalled by the immoral acts happening in back alleys. They came out in their pajamas and crowded the streets and chanted �We want to sleep, we want to protect our children.� This Gemayze resident says the partiers have gotten out of control. the pillow protest have brought a response from the government, which then closed 16 bars and nightclubs. The minister also imposed a curfew: 11:30 pm during the week, 1:00 am during the weekends. But here in Gemayze, partiers are crying foul. This bar owner says Gemayze is one of the few places that’s actually functioning in Lebanon. His complaints about Lebanon are valid: the under-funded police can’t enforce much. This attitude is one reason Lebanon has a reputation for individual liberty in the more socially conservative Middle East. There are rarely fights in nightclubs in Gemayze, despite the mixing of many different ethnicities and religious groups. This nightclub owner says the crackdown is political. One theory is that the politicians want bribes to allow the clubs to stay open. This Gemayze resident doesn’t believe there’s a political agenda and he doesn’t care, he just wants to be able to get sleep. All parties are trying to reach a solution, and if they do it will be a rare example of rival factions agreeing on anything in Lebanon.

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