In a rare show of strength, Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon have marched through the streets of Beirut calling for greater civil rights.
Under the watchful eye of Lebanese security forces, around 2,000 of them urged the country’s politicians to approve a draft law which will give them employment and property ownership guarantees.
“We call on the Lebanese government to give us civil rights because we are people who have been living in camps for 60 years, in houses made of zinc and aluminium boards that are close to collapse,” said protester Mohamed Rasheed. “Our youths are lost in the camps. They are educated but they can’t find any work.”
Lebanon’s Palestinians are descendents of families who fled the fighting in 1948 which eventually created the state of Israel. They are reduced to living in camps which the UN describes as “squalid” and are grudgingly tolerated in a Lebanon which functions along delicately balanced sectarian lines.