Lebanese protesters eyes injured due to rubber bullets
Lebanese activists launched the social media campaign to shed light on the anti-government movement sweeping the country and to show support for protesters whose eyes have been damaged by security forces, who have targeted crowds with rubber bullets.
The activists posted selfies whilst covering one eye under the Arabic hashtag, #ثورتنا_عيونكم which loosely translates to "Our Revolution is Your Eyes".
The campaign was launched after local television aired the testimonies of relatives of two young men they said were hit in the eyes with rubber bullets.
Two protesters reportedly lost an eye each after being hit by rubber bullets during a protest that turned violent in Beirut on Sunday.
Another protester was blinded in the right eye when he was also hit by the projectile widely used by riot police in Lebanon, according to local reports.
Over the weekend more than 540 people were injured after an escalation of violence by the security forces, according to numbers compiled by AFP from figures provided by the Red Cross and civil defence.
An investigation has been opened after a video was shared on social media that showed police beating people, believed to be protesters, as they were brought to a Beirut police station.
Filmmaker Lucien Bourjeily joined the angry chorus online and posted a selfie on Twitter to show solidarity with the protesters using the hashtag. Bourjeily criticised the security forces for targeting demonstrators with weapons that could cause serious and irreversible harm.
"Infamous practice of shooting rubber bullets at protesters’ eyes widely adopted by security forces in +repressive regimes (i.e. France, Chile…) is now employed in #Lebanon. How vicious," Tunisia-based journalist Alessandra Bajec wrote.
Another Twitter user Mai El-Sadany added: "In solidarity with protesters in Lebanon who were shot in the eye by rubber bullets, folks are taking photos while covering one of their eyes & posting on the hashtags #أوقفوا_قنص_العيون & #ثورتنا_عيونكم.
"Reminds me of Egypt's eye snipers & Mohamed Mahmoud. Harrowing."
'An escalation of violence'
Hundreds of protesters were rushed to hospital and treated at make-shift medical centres at mosques and squares across the capital Beirut following a sharp escalation of violence by police over anti-establishment demonstrations.
Lebanon has also targeted journalists in its crackdown. American reporter and The New Arab contributor Nicholas Frakes was just one of the journalists arrested and taken to an infamous military prison over mistaken links with Israel-based news website Haaretz.
Between 16 and 19 January alone, Lebanese security forces have assaulted more than 20 journalists and media workers who have covered the protests in Beirut.
The protest movement that has rocked Lebanon since 17 October is demanding that a new government be comprised of independent experts and exclude all established political parties.
The previous government headed by veteran premier Saad Hariri stepped down on 29 October under pressure from the street but has stayed on in a caretaker capacity.
The demonstrators have been denouncing rampant corruption in Lebanon and accuse authorities of being inefficient and motivated by personal and partisan gains.
Political factions agreed on 19 December to appoint former Education Minister Hassan Diab as the new premier but have since squabbled over proposed ministers.
The World Bank has warned of the worsening impact on the economy, saying the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise from a third to half of the population if the political crisis is not resolved soon.