Arrests, Injuries as Police Fire Tear Gas, Water Cannons at Martyrs Square Protesters

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Several protesters were arrested and many others were injured Thursday as security forces fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse civil society demonstrators who tried to enter into central Beirut's al-Nejmeh Square where the parliament is located.

The Red Cross announced transferring 35 people to hospitals after they suffered suffocation injuries due to tear gas inhalation.

Protest movement lawyer Mazen Hoteit said at least 25 protesters were arrested. TV networks identified two of them as Pierre Hashash and Waref Suleiman.

Meanwhile, the Internal Security Forces said several of its members were injured after protesters “hurled rocks and solid objects” at them.

It later said one of its officers was critically injured in the confrontations.

Protest organizers meanwhile stressed that demonstrators will not leave the street before the release of all detainees, as the You Stink campaign demanded "an emergency cabinet session to resolve the garbage crisis" and held Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq responsible for the "security escalation."

Demonstrators had started gathering at Martyrs Square at 6:00 pm for a central march aimed at reaching the adjacent al-Nejmeh Square.

“Protesters have decided to try entering al-Nejmeh Square from all entrances,” said protest organizer Asaad Zebian after scuffles erupted with security forces.

A statement recited by another protest organizer at the demo demanded “the sacking of the environment minister.”

“Remove the garbage that has been accumulating outside our homes,” the statement added, referring to the unprecedented garbage crisis that erupted after the July 17 closure of the Naameh landfill.

“They continued their procrastination until the arrival of rain,” the statement said.

“Release the funds of municipalities, scrap Sukleen's contracts and start activating the waste sorting plants,” the protest movement demanded.

It also voiced its support for residents who live near the suggested sites for the establishment of new garbage landfills and expressed its solidarity with the Campaign for the Closure of the Naameh landfill.

The protest movement also demanded “immediate parliamentary elections that guarantee the proper representation of the Lebanese people without any discrimination.”

A plan devised by Agriculture Minister Akram Shehayyeb and a team of experts calls for reopening the Naameh landfill, which was closed in mid-July, for seven days to dump the garbage that accumulated in random sites in Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

It also envisions converting two existing dumps, in the northern Akkar area of Srar and the eastern border area of al-Masnaa, into “sanitary landfills” capable of receiving trash for more than a year.

After he announced his plan earlier this month, the civil society and local residents of Akkar, Naameh, Majdal Anjar, and Bourj Hammoud protested against the step, citing perceived environmental and health hazards.

Experts have urged the government to devise a comprehensive waste management solution that would include more recycling and composting to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills.

Environmentalists fear the crisis could soon degenerate to the point where garbage as well as sewage will simply overflow into the sea from riverbeds as winter rains return.

The health ministry has warned that garbage scattered by seasonal winds could also block Lebanon's drainage system.

The trash crisis has sparked angry protests that initially focused on waste management but grew to encompass frustrations with water and electricity shortages and Lebanon's chronically divided political class.

Campaigns like "You Stink" brought thousands of people into the streets in unprecedented non-partisan and non-sectarian demonstrations against the entire political class.


Comments 9
Missing arturo 08 October 2015, 20:21

Did this occur in Israel?

Missing peace 08 October 2015, 20:36

if hezbollah was soooo keen on defending lebanese rights and dignity why aren't they protesting too against the pollution of the lebanese environement? why aren't they asking to recycle garbage? why aren't they demanding 24/24 electricity? why aren't they demanding to use the recycling plants that politicians never authorized to work because it goes against their intersts? why aren't they asking running water for everyone, why aren't they demanding to stop the waste of water? why aren't they siding with the people only asking for basic rights?????
with their weapons they could coerce the gvt to recycle, to stop corruption, to protect the environement, to have better infrastructures, to have jobs, to stop massacring lebanese coast, to stop the gentrification of beirut, to offer a future to lebanese youth..

bes chatrin to pretend to defend Lebanon while every lebanese suffer from pollution and lack of proper jobs?

Default-user-icon JCWilliams (Guest) 08 October 2015, 21:20

Hezbollah is busy in Syria and preparing for a "surprise" attack from Israel which will create a second front for Hezbollah when the USA and it's allies mount a counterattack on Syrian allies within a month. You think Lebanon has problems now? Have fun now kids this is going to be a hard winter

Thumb freedomarch 08 October 2015, 21:26

Please change this avtar name and respect the rest of us.

Default-user-icon PEACE (Guest) 09 October 2015, 00:32

To peace,
"With their weapons they could coerce the get to recycle, stop corruption etc..."
I guess I know what you mean that they are the in the origin of all crisis.
However even in good will I don't like to see HA using their weapons against the gvt.
I don't like the armed militia of HA, but I am sure that themselves don't have interest in using their weapons in that context.
However YES YESSS, HA can help solving everything by putting their military potential under the Lebanese army command and being only a political party. THEN everything will run smoothly in the right way.

Thumb beiruti 09 October 2015, 04:07

God bless the Lebanese people in the streets. Right now the only pulse for the Lebanese state is in their hand.

Thumb justin 09 October 2015, 10:43

هكذا استفاقت بيروت…

Missing ysurais 09 October 2015, 11:02

MPs /Ministers/ Deputies/ gov, don't care as every end of z month they will get their paycheck. Their businesses are abroad and so their families, ect.

Protesters are only BLOCKING regular people's life!

Go and be useful---by going to ministers/ MP's homes instead and requesting your demands.

Missing peace 09 October 2015, 16:55

see this is typical : every time there is an article on hezbollah or syria , their sheep post and comment and defend... but each time an article deals with lebanese daily problems, no comment and they never show up...

it tells a lot on how much hezbis care about lebanese....