Ahead of International Women's Day, the Lebanese hold a demonstration in Beirut in protest of child marriage and pressure parliament to pass a law to make 18 the legal minimum age for marriage on March 2, 2019. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)
BEIRUT, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Despite the heavy rain, hundreds of protesters marched Saturday from Adlieh to Beirut's downtown to advocate for a law on preventing child marriage in Lebanon.
"We, as members of Progressive Women Union, can say that it is time to approve a law preventing child marriage because this is not only a right for women but a humanitarian right which should be approved right away," a woman protester told Xinhua.
The protest on Saturday was organized by the Lebanese Democratic Women's Gathering (LWDG) in cooperation with the National Alliance for the Protection of Children from Early Marriage and the presence of over 57 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in addition to a number of Lebanese political parties.
Protesters chanted slogans against child marriage while holding signs such as "The younger, the more dangerous."
Lawmaker Bilal Abdallah, who took part in the march, told Xinhua that it is not easy to work on such laws in Lebanon because the country "is sectarian and the mentality is a bit conservative."
"It is our duty, however ... to fight for this case because of the negative repercussions of child marriage on society," he said.
LWDG has launched a campaign to install a legal minimum age for marriage since 2016, when it formed a legal committee to work toward that end.
The proposed law, introduced in March 2017 by then-Bcharre member of parliament Elie Keyrouz, was discussed four times only by parliamentary committees.
"But after last year's parliamentary elections, the new parliament put the law aside," said Sara El Outa, campaign and advocacy coordinator at LWDG.
However, El Outa said that some lawmakers are supporting LWDG and vowed to discuss the law in the parliament.