- Title: LEBANON-CRISIS/VIOLENCE REAX Lebanese divided over violent protests
- Date: 24th August 2015
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (AUGUST 24, 2015) (REUTERS) LEBANESE INTERIOR MINISTER NOHAD MACHNOUK ARRIVING TO DOWNTOWN BEIRUT FOR A TOUR TO CHECK THE AFTERMATH OF VIOLENT PROTESTS VARIOUS OF MACHNOUK TOURING AND SURROUNDED BY OFFICIALS AND JOURNALISTS MACHNOUK LOOKING AT A SHOP WITH A BROKEN WINDOW MORE OF MACHNOUK TOURING IN CENTRAL BEIRUT EXTERIOR OF THE GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN BEIRUT VARIOUS OF THE LEBANESE FLAG ON TOP OF THE GOVERNMENT BUILDING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE INTERIOR MINISTER, NOHAD MACHNOUK, SAYING: "We won't let, under any circumstances, the protesters enter by force or by violence to the government or parliament buildings. If they want to protest, let them agree with the internal security forces as civil protesters and define the area they want to protest in. We will protect and safeguard them, and we will let them say whatever they want, but without attacking the internal security forces members, nor the army, nor private or public properties." TRAFFIC IN BEIRUT STREETS DRIVING PAST NEWSPAPERS KIOSK VARIOUS OF NEWSPAPERS KIOSK AN-NAHAR NEWSPAPER HEADLINE READING IN ARABIC 'Infiltrators hijack the 'You Stink' revolution. Salam with the people against the political garbage' MORE OF THE NEWSPAPER KIOSK AL-HAYAT NEWSPAPER HEADLINE READING IN ARABIC " 'You Stink' launches a Lebanese uprising against leaderships" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE CITIZEN, AHMAD, SAYING: "I am supporting this step, it should happen. We have no water nor electricity and now we have garbage as well. No, they should have done what they did." NEWSPAPER KIOSK ON ROADSIDE NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGE SHOWING A PHOTO FROM A VIOLENT PROTEST WITH A HEADLINE READING IN ARABIC 'A flare up or more?' VARIOUS OF AL-BALAD NEWSPAPER HEADLINE READING IN ARABIC 'The protest continues and Salam puts the government on test on Thursday' (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE CITIZEN, SAID NASREDDINE, SAYING: "We are with every rightful demand the people ask for but we are against having trouble makers joining the protest and committing violence, the country has enough problems." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING ON ROADSIDE IN BEIRUT STREETS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE CITIZEN, ANIS, SAYING: "I think this is not right. This is not how they go on the streets, this is not how civilization or order should look like. When people go to the street with a certain project, they go in a studied orderly fashion, but the protest yesterday was chaotic and this leads us nowhere." VARIOUS OF VEHICLES DRIVING IN BEIRUT STREET
- Embargoed: 8th September 2015 13:00
- Location: Lebanon
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA9T6HXBU08U6H0PCTYS7VSE6BD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Lebanese protesters postponed an anti-government demonstration set for Monday (August 24), after two days of rallies over uncollected garbage ignited fierce clashes and threatened the survival of the government, plunging Lebanon deeper into crisis.
Simmering frustration at the protracted political deadlock has boiled over into raw anger. The fractured cabinet and parliament are paralysed, the political class has been unable to agree on a new president for over a year and sectarian tension has been whipped up by the civil war across the border in Syria.
With calm restored on Monday and security forces heavily deployed, Lebanon's interior minister visited the area of central Beirut where protesters had battled security forces late into Sunday night (August 23).
They blame political feuding and corruption for the failure to resolve the waste crisis that has in recent weeks left piles of uncollected trash festering in the summer sun.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said 99 members of the security forces and 61 civilians had been injured in the events.
"We won't let, under any circumstances, the protesters enter by force or by violence to the government or parliament buildings. If they want to protest, let them agree with the internal security forces as civil protesters and define the area they want to protest in. We will protect and safeguard them, and we will let them say whatever they want, but without attacking the internal security forces members, nor the army, nor private or public properties," Machnouk told a news conference.
Organisers of the 'You Stink' garbage campaign, mobilising independently of the big sectarian parties that dominate Lebanese politics, said they would hold a news conference later to explain why they had postponed a third day of protest.
Security forces used water cannons and tear gas against demonstrators, some of whom threw stones and sticks at riot police during battles in central Beirut on Sunday.
The organisers have blamed the violence on troublemakers who they believe are connected to rival sectarian parties.
"Lebanon on brink of chaos", the headline of the Daily Star newspaper said. "Infiltrators hijack the You Stink revolution", said the An-Nahar newspaper. The As-Safir newspaper called it "the Aug. 22 Intifada", or uprising.
On the streets of Beirut there were mixed reactions to the protests on Monday.
"I am supporting this step, it should happen. We have no water nor electricity and now we have garbage as well. No, they should have done what they did," said Ahmad.
"We are with every rightful demand the people ask for but we are against having trouble makers joining the protest and committing violence, the country has enough problems," said Said Nasreddine.
The national unity government led by Prime Minister Tammam Salam has been mostly hamstrung since it came to office last year, paralysed by rivalries among politicians that have been exacerbated by crises in the wider region.
Salam, frustrated at the failings of his government, on Sunday threatened to resign, saying the bigger problem in the country was its 'political garbage', in an attack on the politicians who are bickering over top security posts.
Conflict in the Middle East, including the war in neighbouring Syria, has strained Lebanon's sectarian system of government to breaking point. The presidency reserved for a Christian has been left vacant for a year and parliamentary elections have been postponed.
The Salam cabinet, formed last year with the blessing of regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, has avoided a complete vacuum in the executive arm. It groups rival Lebanese parties including the Future movement led by Sunni politician Saad al-Hariri, Shi'ite Hezbollah, and competing Christians.
But it has struggled to take even basic decisions, including agreeing a plan for Beirut's waste when the city's garbage dump was shut last month. Rubbish collection has resumed in some areas, but there has been no decision on a permanent solution.
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