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SPECIAL REPORT

‘A broken city’: Long-neglected Tripoli sets tempo for Lebanese protests

FRANCE 24 screen grab | Mohammed, a Tripoli protester and father of four.

Lebanon is about to enter its fourth week of nationwide protests, with the northern city of Tripoli emerging as an unexpected centre of the movement, its daily demonstrations often bigger than in the capital Beirut. Our reporters spent the day with a protester in Lebanon's second-largest city, home to some of the country's poorest neighbourhoods.

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Tripoli has suffered from years of neglect and has some of the highest poverty levels anywhere in Lebanon, many of its residents barely having enough electricity and running water to get through the day.

“Honestly, life here is hard: Tripoli is a broken city,” says Mohammed, a protester and father of four who makes kaak – a typical Lebanese snack – in a bid to make ends meet.

With his children's future in mind, Mohammed goes every day to the demonstrations in downtown Tripoli, where he finds occasional cause for optimism.

“I dream that my government will fight corruption. It's the most important thing”, he says. "I want the airport to reopen, and the port too – if we have all that, I believe Tripoli can thrive again”, he said.

Thousands of people seem to share Mohammed’s frustrations and hopes for Tripoli and, like him, take it to the streets every night. It is not clear how long the movement can sustain itself, but protests show no sign of abating.

Click on the player above to watch the report by Nadia Massih, Romeo Langlois, Mayssa Awad and Georges Yazbeck.

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