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Lebanon is fighting against trash

In Beirut, Lebanon a protest about trash pilling up lead to a violent uprising that puts in danger the future of Lebanon.  


How is this happening?

These days, in the capital city of Beirut, some streets filled with garbage have metamorphosed into a battlefield. Saturday and Sunday were two days of violence which ended up with dozens of people who have been hospitalized.

As the organizers decided, Monday there will be no protest in order to re-evaluate their approach. However, they promised to continue demonstrating later this week.

Lebanese army soldiers stand next of their armored personnel carriers as they prepare to reopen a highway linking Beirut to southern Lebanon blocked by angry protesters, in the coastal town of Jiyeh, Lebanon, Monday, July 27, 2015. The closure of the vital highway in the coastal comes amid reports that the government plans to move trash piled on the streets of Beirut to the Kharoub region south of the capital. The main company in charge of collecting trash stopped its work earlier this month amid a dispute over the country's largest trash dump. Mountains of garbage have piled up in Beirut and its suburbs. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)


What do the militants want?

On Sunday, many of militants chanted: “People want to topple the regime!”

A demonstrator named Karma Hamady elaborated that “This protest is about a government that can no longer sustain the basic needs of its people”. This protest go far beyond trash collection. A militant named Mohammed said: “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. We are here to protest against lack of jobs, poverty and hunger.”

This protest is coordinated by a group called “You Stink” – a reference not just for the trash, but also to the demonstrators’ view of the authority.

What is the government’s attitude?

On Sunday, the Lebanese army was deployed the streets of Beirut, trying to quell the violence. In a television speech, Tammam Salam – the Prime Minister warned that Lebanon was at risk of collapse.

Why is this conflict important for U.S or other countries?

Saudi Arabia, France, U.S. Iran and Russia don’t all agree on plenty issues. But, when it comes about Lebanon, none of these countries want to see it collapse. In such a messy region that has seen collapsed states such as Libya and Syria, Lebanon has actually been a state of relative calm.

Also, Israel’s allies are concerned that instability in Lebanon will increase the risk of a conflict between the Lebanon’s major military and political force, Hezbollah and Israel.

Lebanese protesters hold placards and shout slogans during a demonstration against the ongoing trash crisis on July 25, 2015, in the capital Beirut. Uncollected trash piles up in the streets of Beirut after the entry of the city's trash has been blocked by local residents fed up of living next to the site, preventing any new trash from being dumped. AFP PHOTO / ANWAR AMRO

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