As Lebanon started to ease up on its weeks-long Coronavirus lockdown, large protests erupted to decry deteriorating economic conditions and a rapid spike in food prices. Protesters in the impoverished port city of Tripoli targeted banks and threw stones at police in violent clashes. In two night of protests, one demonstrator was killed and scores of police were injured.
(“Riots in Crisis Reflect Lebanon’s Growing Poverty, Despair,” NBC News, April 28, 2020; “With Economy in Free-Fall, Lebanon Aims for IMF Aid,” Reuters, April 30, 2020; “You Think We Care About Masks?” Guardian, May 1, 2020)
Learning important lessons from the African HIV/AIDS crisis, South Africa imposed a strict Covid-19 lockdown in order to flatten the curve of infections. Only recently were people allowed out of their homes for a jog or to walk their dogs. The African nation also deployed 28,000 community health workers to go door to door in poor townships to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
On May Day, tens of thousands of tenants refused to pay their rent in the largest national rent strike in decades. The action reflects growing frustration among low-income residents in big cities across the U.S., where housing costs have dramatically increased in recent years. The movement is getting organizing clout from a number of national progressive groups that have joined forces under the banner of the “Our Homes, Our Health” coalition.
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.