Lebanon – Hundreds of people took to the streets of downtown Beirut on Thursday evening to protest government corruption and inaction over the country’s rubbish crisis.
Lebanon’s parliament speaker cancelled Thursday’s session aimed at discussing ways out of the political crisis after politicians made no progress on what was to be a three-day “national dialogue” called by Nabih Berri aimed at finding solutions to the stalemate.
People intended to march to Nejmeh Square outside Parliament in Beirut, but security forces had set up barricades and amassed forces with water cannon vehicles in anticipation of the protests arrival.
The protesters struggled to get through the barricades and police repression ensued. Water Cannons and tear gas were fired continuously over the next 3 to 4 hours as people continued to resist and refused to disperse.
At least 27 people have been detained and dozens wounded in the police repression. The Lebanese Red Cross said that at least 35 people were treated for suffocation due to the excessive use of tear gas.
The protests, widely known as You Stink, began in August when rubbish collection in Beirut stopped, causing the streets to be filled with waste. However, the movement has since grown, with protesters demanding more democratic reform, and an end to corruption.