Lebanon: Dozens protest against IMF negotiations on Bisri Dam construction

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the World Bank offices in downtown Beirut on Saturday against the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund [IMF] on the Bisri Dam construction site. Protesters carried signs reading messages such as «Stop destroying heritage sites,» and «The World Bank is destroying our land, save Bisri,» as they assumed the dam would affect local, environmental, and archaeological sites. Military officers stood guard surrounding the building and supervising the protest from afar armed with protective shields. «We do not want a deadline. We want a complete refusal to finance this project and because of this issue, we moved today to press more on the World Bank to achieve our goals and prevent the dam project completely,» said a protester. The deadline had been imposed by the International Monetary Fund for Lebanon government to recommence the construction of the Bisri Dam project, after the project was frozen on April 17, 2020. Activists have led a long campaign against the World Bank-funded project, which they say would cause immense harm to the Bisri Valley, dense forest, and farmland, as well as a large number of heritage sites. The dam is part of the Lebanon Water Supply Augmentation project that would provide essential drinking water to the greater Beirut area.

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