Protests continue in Lebanon over rubbish crisis

Protests continue in Lebanon after government was unable to reach deal to end Beirut’s growing rubbish problem

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Police forces detain an activist on a street leading to the parliament building where a session of "national dialogue" was taking place between politicians aimed at discussing ways out of a political crisis, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon September 16, 2015.

Clashes erupted between riot police and protestors in Lebanon on Thursday, after Lebanese officials failed to reach a feasible consensus over a much anticipated agreement for the crippling rubbish crisis.

Politicians attend a session of national dialogue aimed at discussing ways out of a political crisis in downtown Beirut, Lebanon September 16, 2015

At least 39 people were detained in the protests organised by the ‘You Stink’ civic movement.

According to You Stink activists, Lebanese police, while dispersing the crowds used batons to beat protesters. Following the arrests, hundreds of people gathered in Riad El Solh square, aggravated by the level of violence used and demanded the release of those who were detained.

A protester carrying a Lebanese flag stands near riot police that are blocking a street leading to the parliament building where a session of "national dialogue" is taking place between politicians aimed at discussing ways out of a political crisis, in do

"We are down here today to tell the government and its officials that they cannot continue to ignore us and our demands," Wael, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday. "Don't we have our rights? These politicians are nothing but liars and thieves. It is a shame we have gotten to this point."

Beirut-based garbage disposal campaign "You Stink", started rallying in late August over uncollected rubbish, reflecting the long-simmering anger about government incompetence and political corruption.

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

On Wednesday, a Lebanese judge ordered the state electricity company to cut power from the homes of government officials who have not paid their electricity bills.

The resignation of the Environment Minister, Mohammad Machnouk was on top of You Stink’s demands for horribly mishandling the crisis. 

Protesters, calling on minister Mohamad Al Machnouk to resign over a rubbish disposal crisis, leave garbage at one of the entrances to the environment ministry in downtown Beirut, Lebanon September 15, 2015

Uncollected rubbish, increasing power outages, water shortage and government corruption were the base points over which the protests.

Since May 2014, Lebanon has been without a president, as parliament has failed to meet the quorum needed to elect a new one. The parliament has also postponed elections and extended its own mandate twice.

Behind the Lebanese deadlock is the conflict of interest between the two halves comprising the political atmosphere in Beirut. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies, including Christian politician Michel Aoun, and the Saudi-backed mainly Sunni pro-Western Future Movement, led by politician Saad al-Hariri and his allies.

Both parties disagree on a wide spectrum of issues, mainly the Syrian civil war that started in March 2011 and displaced millions, 1.1 million of whom are currently in Lebanon.



TRTWorld and agencies