Baby Shark travels to Iraqi city of Basra following appearance at Beirut protests
YouTube hit Baby Shark has made an appearance at an anti-government rally in Iraq, says after showing up in a Lebanon protest with some describing it as "the anthem" of a new wave of protests in the Arab world.
Few would expect the popular song about a family of sharks - loved by young children but not always appreciated by adults - to become a rallying cry at anti-corruption protests in Lebanon and Iraq, but this seems to be the way things are going now.
A video of protesters in Beirut singing Baby Shark to a toddler made global news earlier this month. Eliane Jabbour, a mother driving through Beirut with her 15-month son Robin, encountered protesters making noise at a rally.
When she told them that the noise of the protesters was scaring Robin, they spontaneously began to sing Baby Shark to calm him down.
The video went viral around the world and the Baby Shark song started to be sung at protests across Lebanon.
Anti-government protests in Iraq began a couple of weeks before protests in Lebanon and the two popular movements have been going on simultaneously.
The rallies ignited hopes of a renewal of the Arab Spring in the two countries both plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and a power structure based on sectarian affiliation.
In the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Monday, protesters were for the first time recorded copying their Lebanese counterparts and using Baby Shark as a protest song.
Videos uploaded by Twitter users showed protesters making Baby Shark’s dance movements as the much-loved (and hated) song, which no one has taken credit for writing, blasted out of loudspeakers.
One major difference between the protests in Lebanon is the level of force the authorities are willing to use.
While protesters in Lebanon have clashed with the army and been attacked by supporters of the Hezbollah and Amal movements, who both participate in government, there have been no fatalities.
By contrast, over 250 protesters have been killed in Iraq since protests began on 1st October, and security forces have used machine guns against protesters as well as tear gas.