One activist dies as Beirut protests rage

Protester dies in Lebanese capital as 'you stink' demonstrations rage against corruption and overflowing rubbish

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Riot police clash with protesters during a protest against corruption and against the government's failure to resolve a crisis over rubbish disposal, near the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon August 23, 2015.

One protester was killed on Saturday in Beirut during anti-corruption demonstrations, the Red Cross said.

The “You stink” protests rage on as police forces were deployed on the ground to tackle the increasing number of protesters demanding rubbish collection and denouncing corruption as well what they called "political dysfunction" in Lebanon.

About 200 youths, some wearing scarves or masks to cover their faces, threw stones and bottles filled with sand at police and tried to pull down security barricades, Agence France-Presse reported.

The first fatality comes as scores were brutally injured in clashes between anti-government protesters and Lebanese police officers. Some of the injured suffered smoke inhalation, and at least 40 were hospitalised according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam declared in a press statement on Sunday, following the Beirut protests, that if the cabinet does not make the decisions on the list he is to put in front of them in a meeting scheduled for Thursday, a collapse is probable for the country.

“I will not be part of this collapse. Let each side and political forces bear its responsibility and know the facts,” he warned.

Salam had previously promised accountability for the use of “excessive force against civil society and against the people.”

There were mountains of garbage in Beirut streets after a refuse tip was closed on July 19 without an agreement on an alternative.

The rubbish was finally cleared but conflicts had emerged within the government over which company is to sign the new contract, leading to corruption accusations from opponents.

The “You Stink” protesters criticise the government and demand that it to resign. They chant the famous Arab Spring slogan “The people want to bring down the regime."

The Salam government consists of opposing groups including the Sunni-led Future Movement of Saad al-Hariri, Shiite Hezbollah, and different Christian groups.

Azza El Masri, who is part of the Lebanese "You Stink" campaign, told Al Jazeera news website that protesters are not backing down and the protests will continue.

"We want Tammam Salam and all the political class to resign. When people were chanting that they wanted to topple the regime yesterday, they were serious. We want to topple [the government], and we won't stop until we do," El Masri said.

Salam’s resignation might trigger a constitutional crisis, as it’s the president who appoints the prime minister in Lebanon. However, Lebanon has been without a president for a year as factions within the government have failed to agree on who it should be.

The country’s public debt is also higher than its GDP, according to a government source cited by Reuters.

TRTWorld and agencies