Lebanon protesters soothe spooked toddler with ‘Baby Shark’
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Lebanon protesters soothe spooked toddler with ‘Baby Shark’

When mom in Beirut tells anti-government demonstrators her 15-month-old was frightened by loud commotion, dozens break out in impromptu song-and-dance

Eliane Jabbour was traveling with her toddler son in a suburb south of Beirut on October 19, 2019 when anti-government protesters spontaneously began singing "Baby Shark" to help calm him down.. (Eliane Jabbour Facebook)
Eliane Jabbour was traveling with her toddler son in a suburb south of Beirut on October 19, 2019 when anti-government protesters spontaneously began singing "Baby Shark" to help calm him down.. (Eliane Jabbour Facebook)

A heartening video of anti-corruption protesters in Lebanon singing to a frightened toddler has gone viral, amid a week of unprecedented street demonstrations that have brought the country to a standstill.

Eliane Jabbour told CNN she was concerned for her 15-month-old son Robin after she approached a protest south of Beirut Saturday night and demonstrators waving flags and chanting slogans surrounded her car.

Jabbour said she was worried the commotion would upset her toddler son, who was sitting wide-eyed in the passenger seat of her car after he woke up from a nap.

“I told them, ‘I have a baby, don’t be too loud,'” she told CNN. Instead of being ignored or admonished, Jabbour said dozens of protesters encircled her car and spontaneously broke out in a song-and-dance rendition of the worldwide children’s hit “Baby Shark.”

A video shot by Jabbour shows Robin looking on, somewhat nonplussed, as a dozen or so protesters at Beirut’s Furn El Chebbak neighborhood waved Lebanese flags and belt out the ubiquitous children’s song and earworm.

Thanks for the animation on road from baby Robin HaddadChabeb furn el chebackAnd the shark Elie-joe Nehme

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Eliane Jabbour‎‏ ב- יום שבת, 19 באוקטובר 2019

“It was spontaneous,” she said. “He likes this song. He hears it many times at home and laughs.”

Jabbour later told NBC news her son was “surprised but not afraid” to hear the protesters’ boisterous version of “Baby Shark.”

The video of the encounter has gone viral across Lebanon, with some calling it a symbol of the anti-government demonstrations that have paralyzed Lebanon since last Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded public squares across Lebanon in the largest protests in over 15 years, unifying an often-divided public in their revolt against status-quo leaders who have ruled for three decades and brought the economy to the brink of disaster.

Sparked by proposed new taxes, the protests have shaken the country and top leaders, who are scrambling to come up with concessions to appease the public.

Given the size of the gatherings, the six-day-old mobilization has been remarkably incident free, with armies of volunteers providing water to protesters and organizing first aid tents.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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