Police fire tear gas at protesters in Beirut for second day

2015-08-23 21:27
(AFP)

(AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Lebanese riot police fired tear gas and water cannons for the second consecutive day in downtown Beirut on Sunday as they battled protesters with batons and stones - a marked escalation of mass demonstrations against an ongoing trash crisis.

The violence came hours after Prime Minister Tammam Salam hinted he might step down following violent protests on Saturday that injured more than 100 people.

The violence threatened to plunge Lebanon in new instability and political turmoil, adding to the greater Mideast's upheaval.

The demonstrations, the largest in years to shake tiny Lebanon, seek to upend what protesters see as a corrupt and dysfunctional political system that has no functional Cabinet or parliament, nor a president for more than a year.

Sunday's clashes broke out shortly before sunset when angry protesters tried to break through barbed wire leading to the government's headquarters.

Police beat back protesters with clubs and water cannons, occasionally hurling stones at protesters who threw rocks and water bottles.

At least two riot police officers were injured and whisked away by their colleagues. Ambulances carried away at least five injured protesters from Riad Solh Square in central Beirut, where the demonstrators had been gathering since the morning.

Later on Sunday evening, protesters were able to break through the first barbed wire after intense clashes with security forces. When the protesters got closer to the government headquarters, police fired tear gas, forcing thousands to flee.

The protesters took over a police motorcycle and set it on fire. Some protesters carrying clubs also attacked police vehicles, hurling stones and bottles at them.

"Shabiha!" the protesters would shout, an Arabic term often used to refer to thugs.

Some of the protest organizers suggested that radical elements had infiltrated their peaceful protest for political gains.

The protests started over garbage piling up on the streets after the capital's main landfill was closed a month ago. An online group calling itself "You Stink!" and other civil society groups organized the rallies, calling on Lebanese to join them in a revolt against the corrupt system.

Protesters now demand that the country's top politicians resign, saying they are not fit to rule to country. Salam, Lebanon's prime minister, said in a news conference earlier Sunday that if this Thursday's Cabinet meeting is not productive, "then there is no need for the council of ministers."

Lebanon has a sectarian power-sharing system that ensures equal representation between the country's main religious sects. The arrangement often leads to complete paralysis. A resignation by Salam would risk plunging the country into further chaos.

Read more on:    lebanon

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.