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(3 Mar 2019) LEADIN:
Female protesters have taken to the streets of Beirut to call for legislation to prevent marriage under the age of 18.
Despite the rain, hundreds of women are marching in solidarity, armed with brollies and banners.
As they walk through the streets they chant the slogan: “Different causes, shared anger.”
At the moment there is no minimum age for marriage in Lebanon.
Lawmaker, Paula Yacoubian says marriage under the age of 18 should not be accepted “economically, morally or on a humanitarian basis.”
“They are getting rid of their girls (daughters) who then return to their family with bigger problems. We hope that this time the parliament will take responsibility,” she says.
Maya Zoghbi, head of women’s department at the Lebanese Forces says she wants parliament to issue the law “without any exceptions.”
A draft law that would set the minimum age to 18 still awaits parliament’s consideration.
Without the bill passed, girls younger than 15 are allowed to marry under religious law.
Young girls marching in wedding dress are a stark reminder of the fate of those who are most vulnerable.
The protest comes ahead of International Women’s Day (8 March).

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