Thousands of tonnes of uncollected rubbish in Beirut have become a symbol for the country’s deeper political malady.
Thousands of Lebanese protesters have returned to Beirut’s streets, demanding that politicians take action to end the country’s rubbish crisis and calling on their leaders to step down.
Hundreds of activists on Sunday broke through police lines to rush to the Lebanese parliament building demanding the government end the two-month-old crisis.
Mobilising with the hashtag #You Stink, the movement has widened into protests against the political establishment.
Protester Neamat Badereddine said: “We do not want any more dumps, we need hygienic dumps with international standards that do not create cancerous diseases that kill the people.”
Thousands of tonnes of rubbish have been left on the streets of a city once known as the Paris of the Middle East.
The city’s main landfill hit capacity in July, and the government started piling rubbish on the Mediterranean coast on one of the Middle East’s most popular seafronts.
“The corrupt in the regime are against this movement because they fear accountability and to be caught red-handed with evidence of corruption,” said YouStink activist Abdel Malek Soukkariyyeh.
“They will continue to be corrupt and to make fortunes out of the poor from all sects.”
Lebanon’s parliament is deeply divided and it has been unable to elect a president for more than a year. In addition, the country with a population of four million people has had to host nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees.
“There is no improvement, the rubbish is at our doors, the new plan for gathering the rubbish will be lacking finance soon. We have nothing, and we are asking for the minimum, for the parliament members to respect the people and give them the minimum of their rights,” protester Mira Saab said.
Another protester suggested Lebanese politicians be thrown out with the growing piles of rubbish.
– With additional reporting from AP