Protests about a waste collection crisis in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, have ended up calling for the government to resign and gone into the second day after police used teargas and water cannon against demonstrators on Saturday night. On Sunday, thousands of people gathered near the government headquarters in Beirut chanting anti-government slogans and calling for a larger protest later on the day.

The police again used teargas and water cannon against the crowd, with protesters responding by throwing rocks at the officers.

People in the town of Dahr el Baidar have blocked the main road leading from Beirut to Damascus, with cars only moving in the direction of the Lebanese capital, NNA agency reported.

There were also reports of people taking to the streets in the towns of Tripoli, Nabatieh and elsewhere in the country.

Earlier, the Lebanese Prime Minister, Tammam Salam, described force used against protesters as “excessive” and promised that those responsible would be held to account.

“I warn that we are going towards collapse if matters continue. Frankly, I have not and will not be a partner in this collapse. Let all officials and political forces bear their responsibilities,” Salam said in a televised address Sunday.

The police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the rally on Saturday. At least 35 people, both police officers and protesters, were injured in the clashes.

People in Beirut took to the streets after piles of rubbish began to appear on the streets of the Lebanese capital.

Beirut's main landfill was closed about a month ago and the authorities have yet to decide how to replace it.

Amid the unrest, some were shouting slogans used during the Arab Spring protests like “The people want to topple the regime!”

RT contacted one of the organizers of the rally, who said that the protest was initially peaceful, not calling for a violent change of power.

“We were very peaceful protesters. We were just demanding the resignation of the minister of environment,” the activist, who opted not to disclose his name, said.

He described the response to the protest by the police as “brutal,” saying that the “the army beat us… brutally with tear gas and with bullets – with real bullets.”

“Now we’re demanding the resignation of the whole government, immediately,” the activist said, adding that the parliamentary election must be announced “as soon as possible” in the country.

From RT - August 23, 2015



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