Dozens of people protesting the Lebanese government over the country's months-long garbage crisis clashed with police on Thursday in downtown of Beirut.
The clashes began after a group of protesters entered the Environment Ministry to stage a sit-in inside while Lebanese Cabinet were discussing the issue.
The cabinet issued a proposal recently to export the waste temporarily, which was agreed on in December but failed because of disputes.
In Thursday's melee, some of the demonstrators protesting the lack of transparency in dealing with the issue were detained while others were beaten by baton-wielding riot police who chased them away.
"Activists were put in a police vehicle and taken to an unknown place," a witness said, Daily Star reported.
Co-founder of the “You Stink” campaign Assaad Thebian said that the detained activists were those who stormed the ministry.
"This is a peaceful entrance. They are sitting on the ground inside and doing nothing," Thebian said.
The garbage collection crisis erupted in July 2015 after authorities closed the primary landfill for Beirut and the surrounding coastal governorate without providing an alternative. People started to come together under the name of "You Stink" group in August 2015 and have been organising protests ever since.
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 war that started in March 2011 and displaced millions, about 1.5 million of whom are currently in Lebanon.