Naharnet

ISF Scuffles with Naameh Landfill Protesters as They Vow to Go On with Sit-In

A scuffle erupted on Friday between Internal Security Forces deployed on the road leading to the Naameh landfill and protesters who tried to prevent Sukleen waste trucks from entering the area.

Protesters lashed out in a statement at Interior Minister Marwan Charbel for allowing police members to storm into the protest camp at dawn and forced “peaceful protesters” out of their tents.

A statement read by one of the activists vowed to go on with their open-ended strike until the landfill is shut.

Earlier on Friday, ISF removed the protest camp near the Naameh landfill and opened the road for Sukleen trucks to enter after vows to close the dumpster by the end of 2015.

According to the state-run National News Agency, protesters stood on the sidewalk while security forces opened the road.

Activist Ragheda al-Halabi, the protesters spokeswoman, told Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) that around 300 police members removed the erected tents near the Naameh dumpster.

NNA reported that Ajwad al-Ayyach, the spokesman of “Campaign to Close the Naameh Landfill,” was detained over charges of provoking protesters.

The protesters appealed in their statement for the police to release al-Ayyach.

Sukleen waste trucks later began collecting the garbage that has piled up on the streets of Beirut and Mount Lebanon since Sunday evening after protesters decided to open the landfill for 48 hours as a good will gesture.

Activists and demonstrators soon blocked the road again after negotiations with the Council for Development and Reconstruction failed to resolve the crisis.

The blockade of the road leading to Naameh landfill by protesters kicked off on Saturday after activists and residents in the nearby areas complained of what they described as bad living conditions.

The protesters prevented Sukleen dump trucks from entering the landfill, calling on the state to resolve the matter.

Garbage in Beirut and Mount Lebanon piled up on roadsides but Sukleen assured that street sweepers would continue cleaning streets and that dumpsters would be sprayed with pesticides.

On Thursday, the protesters issued a statement giving the state until January 17, 2015 to close the landfill, stressing that their open-ended sit-in will go on until their demands are achieved.

Landfills are not designed to break down trash, merely to bury it.

Sukleen is the only company tasked with collecting garbage in the governorates of Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

CDR argues that there is no swift solution to the problem, saying: “the most realistic solution is finding a new landfill to sort and compose (organic) waste before transferring them to Naameh landfill.”

The council deemed that finding a new land and a disposal waste treatment plant would require at least 6 month.

Also on Thursday, a joint meeting for the public works and environment parliamentary committees urged the state to carry out a complete study concerning the health hazardous caused by the landfill.

The attendees voiced support for the protesters, suggesting that the state generates electricity for the neighborhoods near the dumpster.

For his part, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat vowed the closure of the Naameh landfill by the end of 2015.


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