Hundreds break through police lines to the Lebanese parliament building, demanding an end to the two-month-old crisis.

Paul Chaderjian | 21 Sep 2015

Thousands of Lebanese protesters have returned to Beirut’s streets, demanding that politicians take action to end the country’s rubbish crisis and calling on their leaders to step down.

Hundreds of activists on Sunday broke through police lines to rush to the Lebanese parliament building demanding the government end the two-month-old crisis.
Inside Story: Lebanon’s deepening crisis

Mobilising with the hashtag #You Stink, the movement has widened into protests against the political establishment.

OPINION: Protests in Lebanon reflect the disease not the cure

Protester Neamat Badereddine said: “We do not want any more dumps, we need hygienic dumps with international standards that do not create cancerous diseases that kill the people.”

Thousands of tonnes of rubbish have been left on the streets of a city once known as the Paris of the Middle East.

The city’s main landfill hit capacity in July, and the government started piling rubbish on the Mediterranean coast on one of the Middle East’s most popular seafronts.

“The corrupt in the regime are against this movement because they fear accountability and to be caught red-handed with evidence of corruption,” said YouStink activist Abdel Malek Soukkariyyeh.

“They will continue to be corrupt and to make fortunes out of the poor from all sects.”

In Pictures: Lebanon – Protesters defy police brutality

Lebanon’s parliament is deeply divided and it has been unable to elect a president for more than a year. In addition, the country with a population of four million people has had to host nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

“There is no improvement, the rubbish is at our doors, the new plan for gathering the rubbish will be lacking finance soon. We have nothing, and we are asking for the minimum, for the parliament members to respect the people and give them the minimum of their rights,” protester Mira Saab said.

Another protester suggested Lebanese politicians be thrown out with the growing piles of rubbish.

– With additional reporting from AP

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Lebanon’s ‘You Stink’ protests return to Beirut streets AL ARYABIYA

By the Associated Press | Beirut
Monday, 21 September 2015

Hundreds of Lebanese protesters pushed through a security cordon as they marched toward parliament late on Sunday night, the latest in a series of demonstrations that began with a trash crisis but has since expanded to target the country’s political class.

Thousands marched through the streets of Beirut earlier in the day to press their demands for holding government officials accountable and new parliamentary elections. They also called for a sustainable solution to the trash piling in the streets of Beirut.

Security forces blocked off streets leading to the parliament building, the final destination of the rally. The protesters raised their hands in the air to show they were unarmed, chanting “peaceful.”

“The people are the source of authority,” protest organizer Ajwad Ayyash told the crowd, which was thinning by evening. “This is the square of the people. And we insist we must enter it so that we can have elections.”

The square, Place de l’Etoile, is outside the parliament building. Lebanon’s parliament has extended its term twice in a controversial move amid disputes over a new election law. The last elections were in 2009.

After more than an hour of standoff and some scuffles, protesters broke through the cordon. Police let them into the street leading to the square and the parliament, but set up a new cordon closer to the parliament building. Additional security forces were deployed as tension grew.

What started in July as protests against trash piling in the streets is turning into Lebanon’s largest protest movement in years, targeting an entire political class. The movement is growing to include different groups with varied grievances about government dysfunction. There has been recurrent friction between police and protesters.

Earlier Sunday, angry supporters of the parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, attacked a group of protesters waving a photo of him and accusing him and others of corruption. The brawl ended with the arrest of a Berri supporter who had jabbed a protester with a knife.