Jumblat Calls for Talks between Protesters, Officials to Find Alternative Landfill

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat has stressed that the resignation of Environment Minister Mohammed al-Mashnouq over his failure to resolve the snowballing waste crisis is “useless.”

Jumblat told An Nahar daily published Wednesday that the authorities should start cooperating with the young protesters calling for al-Mashnouq's resignation to find an alternative for the Naameh landfill.

The garbage crisis erupted when the landfill serving Beirut and Mount Lebanon was closed last month.

Waste began piling up on the streets, drawing angry protests organized by the “You Stink” movement.

On Tuesday around 30 of its members stormed the environment ministry, calling for al-Mashnouq's resignation.

The protests have attracted supporters from across Lebanon's political and religious divides, reflecting the growing frustration with an aging and corrupt political class that has failed to provide basic services, but for which there appears to be no clear alternative.

Jumblat called for “calm” measures to discuss their demands, among which are al-Mashnouq's resignation and holding parliamentary elections.

The country has been without a functioning parliament — the last elections were held in 2009 — and no president for the past 15 months.

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