Protest in Beirut continues, now on the fourth day of active resistance. Thousands gathered in downtown Beirut on Saturday the 22nd to demonstrate against governmental corruption which has led to garbage piling up on the streets since the closure of the city’s main landfill a month ago. Live ammo, water cannon’s, rubber bullets, tear gas and batons were deployed by police injuring dozens of people and one man was killed. On Saturday people announced an indefinite sit-in and running battles of resistance have continued every day and evening.
The protests have been mostly coordinated by community and participants of the “You Stink” campaign, a group calling for answers to a garbage crisis that began back in July when Lebanon’s largest landfill was closed. The tone of the protest has escalated from one demanding a resolution to the garbage crisis to one demanding an end to the governmental corruption that led to the crisis and the resignation of the officials involved.
Al Jazeera‘s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Beirut, said the protests drew people from across the political spectrum, and the grievances expressed extended beyond the original anger at the government’s failure to remove rubbish.
“There is no political party that has called for these protests, it is very much a grassroots movement that has come out onto the streets,” he said.
“The protests were triggered by the trash crisis but the people we’ve been speaking to say that was the straw that broke the camel’s back … they point to power shortages, water shortages, and inherent corruption within the state.”
The presidency in Lebanon has been vacant for over a year, and the government of national unity has been maintaining the position of central authority in the country. Amid war in neighboring Syria, the 2009 elected parliament in Lebanon has extended its term on the grounds of regional instability, postponing parliamentary elections until 2017.
— Dr.Tarabay Rima (@RimaTarabay) August 25, 2015
— Joey Ayoub جووي أيوب (@joeyayoub) August 25, 2015
— Sarah El Deeb (@seldeeb) August 25, 2015