Lebanese protesters storm Environment Ministry
At least two dozen Lebanese protesters have stormed the Environment Ministry in Beirut over the prolonged garbage crisis in the capital.
The protesters from the “You Stink” movement barged their way into the building of the ministry on Tuesday and organized a sit-in there.
They called for the resignation of the country’s Environment Minister Mohammed Machnouk over his failure to resolve the rubbish accumulation crisis in the city.
“We will stay here until our demands are met,” Imad Bazzi, one of the organizers of the protests held by the movement, said.
The protesters chanted slogans against the minister and encouraged Lebanese citizens and employees of the ministry to join the protest.
The movement had issued a 72-hour ultimatum on Saturday for the minister to resign.
Machnouk, who was at his office on the building’s 8th floor, said, “I am carrying out my duties” and demanded that security forces discharge their duties.
Reports say the minister asked for a meeting with a representative from the movement, but his request was rejected.
Beirut has been the scene of daily protests over the past week, including two massive rallies that turned violent over the weekend. Violent protests have left at least one person dead while dozens of protesters and police forces have been injured.
The campaign was launched after the Environment Ministry closed its largest Naameh landfill site on July 17 because it had been filled up.
Garbage from the city used to be disposed at the Naameh landfill in the mountainous region southeast of the capital. Since its closure, garbage collectors have stopped taking the garbage away, saying they have no place to dispose it.
The stink of uncollected garbage has filled the streets of the capital, prompting the Health Ministry to warn that the country will be on the brink of a “major health disaster” if the issue is not quickly resolved.