Edmonton Lebanese join wave of historic anti-government demonstrations
'People are making history'
Thousands of people in Lebanon took to the streets on Sunday for the 11th consecutive day of anti-government protests.
In Edmonton, hundreds more took to the Alberta legislature grounds in solidarity, adding their voice to the call for change in a sea of Lebanese flags and a chorus of anti-government chants.
"Our whole purpose is to just show solidarity with the Lebanese people and show them that there are Lebanese abroad that are supporting them and Canadians abroad that are supporting them and their goals," co-organizer Rana Ghanem said.
Lebanon erupted in protests earlier this month, ignited by anger at the government's proposed economic reforms.
Demonstrators have called for the overthrow of the ruling class that has governed the country since the end of its 1975 to 1990 civil war. They blame the political leaders for corruption in the country even as the cost of living soars and unemployment rises.
At the protest in Edmonton, Cynthia El Ramy called her cousin Gina in Lebanon to tell her that they were standing with the protestors.
"We're not going to give up," she said.
The demonstration was upbeat, with music playing as people handed out Lebanese treats.
But the message was strong, especially from people who left Lebanon to come to Alberta, claiming the government had robbed them of an opportunity to make a life in their home country.
"They didn't only steal money. They stole our lives," said Rana El Ramy. "And now, people are making history. I'm so proud of you Lebanese people. I'm so proud of you that you're putting everything aside."
With files from Jordan Omstead