Berri Says People Have the Right to Yell but No Alternative for Cabinet
Speaker Nabih Berri has said it is the right of the people to make their voices heard over the waste crisis but the problem lies in the presidential vacuum which stops short of forming a new government.
According to An Nahar and al-Joumhouria dailies published on Monday, Berri told his visitors that “when the parliament is absent and can't play its role and hold (anyone) accountable, then it's only natural for the people” to act this way.
“It is the right of the people to yell. What's happening is a legitimate act but at the same time there is no alternative for the cabinet, particularly amid the presidential vacuum.”
Al-Joumhouria said that Berri contacted Prime Minister Tammam Salam ahead of the press conference he held on Sunday to suggest the announcement of tenders for waste management in Beirut and Mount Lebanon to be moved up to Sunday from Tuesday.
But the date was moved to Monday instead.
Berri also proposed to hold the cabinet session earlier than Thursday, said al-Joumhouria.
Environment Minister Mohammed al-Mashnouq has said that the bidding results will be moved to Monday afternoon instead of Tuesday.
His announcement came as riot police battled demonstrators in the streets of downtown Beirut for a second night Sunday after the protesters rallied over government corruption and the ongoing trash crisis that erupted following the closure of the Naameh landfill.
The violence came hours after Salam hinted he might step down following violent protests Saturday.
Profound political rifts have kept Lebanon without a head of state since May 2014, leaving a cabinet -- also deeply divided -- in charge.
According to al-Mustaqbal newspaper, Berri described the clashes in downtown Beirut as “dangerous.”
He called for containing the situation before it gets out of control.
“The roadmap starts with opening the parliament's doors for the election of a president, and exerting efforts to reopen the Naameh landfill for only six months” pending the start of the work of firms that have won the tenders, said Berri.