Army Deployed in Beirut Over Garbage Protests

Army Deployed in Beirut Over Garbage ProtestsArmy Deployed in Beirut Over Garbage Protests

Lebanese army units were deployed Sunday in central Beirut following violent street protests over uncollected garbage, said Col. Joseph Moussalem, spokesman for the Lebanese Security Forces.

Nearly 49 protesters and police officers were injured in the protests in the Lebanese capital. Lebanese Red Cross spokesman George Kettaneh said 10% of the injuries were serious.

Moussalem said 31 Lebanese policemen had been injured, one critically, by rocks and firecrackers hurled by protesters. A civilian was also critically injured.

Long-simmering weariness over government dysfunction reached a boiling point in Lebanon over the weekend when violent clashes erupted because of garbage going uncollected in the streets of Beirut, reports CNN.

Thousands took to the increasingly putrid streets of Riad El Solh Square in central Beirut, where a cacophonous scene of explosions, tear gas, flaming garbage and cannon-fired water unfolded Saturday and Sunday.

The Red Cross said on its official Twitter account that 16 people were transferred from the fracas to a hospital Sunday and 23 a day earlier.

 ‘You Stink’

The weekend protest was organized by a group calling itself “You Stink,” a moniker that has as much to do with the rotting garbage that is clogging the streets of Beirut as it has towards the leaders of the politically stagnant nation.

The paralysis caused by the in-fighting is all-encompassing, ranging from squabbles over basic needs such as trash collection to problems on a more global scale, such as being unable to elect a president.

“We are here today against sectarianism of the Lebanese government, our parliament of thieves that stole from the people’s pockets, forcing our youth to emigrate,” said one protester who only gave his first name, Mohammed, to CNN. “We are here to protest against lack of jobs, poverty and hunger.”

“This protest is about a government that can no longer sustain the basic needs of its people,” said another protester, Karma Hamady. “This protest has truly unified everybody,” she said.