Last Update 0:33
Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Activists call for nationwide protests in Lebanon

AFP , Friday 4 Sep 2015
File Photo: Lebanese anti-government protesters gather in a square near the government building, during a demonstration against the on-going trash crisis and government corruption, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 (Photo: AP)
Views: 867
Views: 867

The civil campaign that has organised protests against Lebanese politicians in Beirut called on Friday for a nationwide mobilisation against a government they say is too corrupt to function.

"The people's outrage at this corrupt system continues... The protests will go on today and tomorrow in all Lebanese regions," the "You Stink" campaign wrote on its Facebook page.

The collective has called for demonstrations on Friday in the coastal city of Tyre and in Zrariyeh, both in southern Lebanon.

And on Saturday, activists have urged supporters to protest in the eastern city of Chtaura, the historic town of Beiteddine and Nabatiyeh and Marjayoun in the south.

The protest movement began over a rubbish crisis that left pungent waste piling up in Beirut and its outskirts, but it has evolved into a broad-based movement against government impotence and corruption.

The demonstrations organised by "You Stink" have escalated over the past two weeks, peaking on Saturday when tens of thousands flooded Martyrs Square in central Beirut in a rare display of non-partisan mobilisation.

But a rival protest organised by the Free Patriotic Movement, one of Lebanon's main Christian parties, gathered in central Beirut on Friday with its own demands.

Thousands of protesters carrying the party's trademark orange flags, as well the flags of allied Shia movement Hezbollah, descended on Martyrs Square.

FPM head Michel Aoun had urged supporters to demonstrate to demand parliamentary elections and a new electoral law that would see the public elect the president.

In Lebanon, the president is elected by the parliament.

Artists, political figures, and activists took to a makeshift stage to express support for Aoun and Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah.

Aoun, part of the March 8 coalition, is supported by the powerful Shia movement Hezbollah and the embattled Syrian regime and opposes the Washington-backed March 14 coalition.

The two rival coalitions have divided the cabinet and parliament, which has been unable to elect a president since the post became vacant in May 2014.

The speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, has called for a national dialogue to discuss the paralysis plaguing Lebanon's institutions.

But activists from "You Stink", who insist that their campaign for political overhaul exempts no politicians, have accused Berri of diverting attention from their campaign.

On Tuesday, dozens of young activists staged a sit-in at the environment ministry to demand the resignation of the minister, but they were forcibly ejected.

On Thursday, 13 "You Stink" activists began a hunger strike that they said would not end until Mohammed Mashnuq resigned as environment minister.

In addition to his resignation, the campaign is calling for a lasting waste management plan, parliamentary elections, and accountability for violence against protesters.

Rubbish has been piling up on the streets of Beirut and in the heavily populated Mount Lebanon area since the country's largest landfill closed on July 17.

The cabinet awarded tenders to several waste management companies last week, but has since retracted them.

Short link:



© 2010 Ahram Online.