Lebanese protesters forced out of environment building

Lebanese anti-government protesters forced out of Environment Ministry building in Beirut after breaking in and staging sit-in

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

"You Stink" movement protesters in Lebanon's capital Beirut were taken out of the Environment Ministry building after they had taken it over earlier today chanting slogans against Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk, calling on him to resign.

Protesters were chanting "Machnouk - out, out, out!"

"There are no negotiations. We have one demand: the resignation of the environment minister. We've had enough," one protester said.

Protesters that were initially inside the building stated that they were taken out using violence.

"They first cut the electricity, they cut water and air from us and started to walk in. We told them we will leave with respect but they were hitting every person on the head as we were walking down the stairs, without any reason," he reported.

Interior Minister urged the protesters to leave the premise as soon as possible, it was not clearly started what would happen if the protesters remained inside the building.

Intense demonstrations were held in Lebanon on Sunday after protesters aggravated by a garbage crisis gave political leaders a deadline to meet their demands or face further demonstrations and protests.

The ultimatum given to the Lebanese government, with the deadline ending on Monday night, called for a sustainable solution to the garbage crisis that started in mid-July, the resignation of Environment Minister Machnouk and for new parliamentary elections to be held.  

"You Stink" organiser Lucien Bourjeily called the rally "a really big victory."

​"Politicians always use the excuse that 'the people are sectarian'," Bourjeily told AFP on Monday. "Yesterday we showed them that the people aren't sectarian and that they can rise up against the political class. A door has been opened that cannot be shut."

"It also shows us that it's a big responsibility for us. We have to achieve the demands that we have set out."

Other demands include prosecuting all those who have spent public funds wastefully during the previous government, as well as holding the minister of interior and all those responsible for demonstrators being fired at accountable.  

Lebanon has been without a president for over a year, unable to elect a new one since May 2014, due to the parliament’s failure to meet a two-thirds working majority required to hold an electoral session.

TRTWorld and agencies