Beirut, Lebanon – Protesters in Lebanon are trying to halt the development of the last piece of parkland in Beirut.

Foundations for a public hospital have already been laid on the edge of Horsh Beirut, but demonstrators say the $5m project funded by Egypt will wreck the area.

“Horsh Beirut is part of the 1925 Real Estate act, which means it is categorised as a nature reserve according to a legal precedent set in 1939,” said Mohammad Ayoub, a political activist.

“Therefore it is prohibited to build anything on it, so the law is 100 percent on our side.”

But more hospitals are needed in the city and the new one would serve Palestinian and Syrian refugees.

“Why are they protesting against a project that will help the poor? All of Beirut’s hospital refuse to welcome those in need and the Egyptians are helping us by giving this hospital to the governate of Beirut. This is a charitable project,” said Adnan Istambuli, a union leader.

The authorities say there is a strategy in place that would actually expand green spaces, but few at the protest believe it and promise to continue their fight to save Horsh Beirut park.