‘You Stink’ protesters block major road into Beirut

Published March 14th, 2016 - 08:00 GMT
Lebanese women protest the trash crisis in Beirut. (AFP/Patrick Baz)
Lebanese women protest the trash crisis in Beirut. (AFP/Patrick Baz)

Activists early Monday briefly blocked vital roads and highways leading to Beirut to protest the government's mismanagement of the country's eight-month garbage crisis.

Members of the You Stink group had vowed during a protest two days earlier to paralyze all movements around the country over the unending crisis jeopardizing public health.

Police deployed heavily along Beirut's entrances to prevent demonstrators from completely suffocating traffic at the capital's entrances.

Roads including the Khaldeh highway, south of Beirut, Hazmieh road, southeast of the capital, and Dora to the north were shut down for periods starting around 7 a.m., causing heavy congestion.

However some roads, including Khaldeh, were later reopened by force, the National News Agency said.

Rita Hanna, an activist with the You Stink movement, was detained after sitting in the middle of the Dora highway to block it. She was taken to Jdeideh police station.

Speaking from Hazmieh, activists vowed not to budge from the roads Monday over the failure of the government to adopt a solution that takes the people health into account.

"We will only accept a sustainable and environmental solution to the trash crisis," an activist in Hazmieh said, noting that this is only the beginning of their escalatory actions.

An activist told Al-Jadeed that the group is only seeking to achieve goals in the interests of the people, apologizing for causing traffic and delaying employees from heading to work.

"This is only our first move. We will further coordinate our steps with unions and independent civil movements to pressure the state," he added.

Their actions point to a rejection of a trash plan approved by the Cabinet Saturday to open new landfills in the Beirut suburbs of Costa Brava and Burj Hammoud, and reopen the infamous Naameh dump.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam is set to chair a meeting later Monday to discuss the implementation of the plan by force, if necessary.

Local residents held separate protests Sunday in Khaldeh (near Costa Brava) and outside the Naameh landfill to denounce the trash plan.


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