1935 Activism

The fight against the Regie’s monopoly and colonial rule

The Regie Libanaise des Tabacs et Tombacs, commonly known as the Regie, was established, in 1935, as a monopoly over the tobacco industry in Lebanon and Syria. The emergence of this monopoly enraged local tobacco merchants, politicians, unionists, and heads of social organisations across the cities of Beirut, Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, and Tripoli. This led to the call for peaceful protests in which students, and “unemployed tobacco working women and men” from the old tobacco factories, demonstrated side by side demanding the compensation and unemployment indemnities promised to them by the French 1. These protests were later supported by the nascent Arab Feminist Union, long before it was formally established in 1944.