Lebanon's cabinet holds emergency meeting after protests

By REUTERS
August 25, 2015 11:52
1 minute read.

 
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BEIRUT - Lebanon's cabinet held an emergency meeting on Tuesday in its newly fortified headquarters after protests over trash collection spilled over into street violence and calls for the feuding government to resign.

Beirut-based activists from the "You Stink" campaign held two large rallies over the weekend and a smaller march on Monday over uncollected rubbish, reflecting long-simmering anger about government incompetence and political corruption.

Protest organizers have called on Lebanese at home and abroad to join them in a large rally on Saturday.

Ministers arrived in cars at the heavily guarded Serail Palace on Tuesday and began their meeting. Workers erected concrete blast walls around the building on Monday, which protesters quickly covered with colorful anti-government graffiti.

On Sunday Prime Minister Tammam Salam threatened to resign as public discontent brought thousands into the streets.

The protests that initially started peacefully over the weekend descended into violence after clashes between police and protesters that wounded scores.

Lebanon's army commander General Jean Kahwaji said late on Monday the armed forces would protect any peaceful demonstrations but would not tolerate "security violators or infiltrators" who sought to sow "sedition and chaos."

Protest organizers have blamed the violence on troublemakers whom they say are connected to rival sectarian parties. The UN special coordinator for Lebanon on Monday urged "maximum restraint" by all sides.

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