Police in Lebanon moved in to clear protesters who had staged a sit-in at the environment ministry.
We deplore state institutions being taken hostage. We can't accept people entering state buildings like this. Our cause is purely environmental
Their action highlighting an ongoing rubbish disposal crisis was the latest in a series of protests at the country’s political paralysis.
The demonstrators called for the resignation of Environment Minister Mohamad Al Machnouk.
Police moved in after protesters ignored an ultimatum from the authorities to leave.
The head of Green Party, who witnessed what happened, sympathises with their cause but not their methods.
“We deplore state institutions being taken hostage. We can’t accept people entering state buildings like this. Our cause is purely environmental,” Nada Zaarour said angrily.
Outside the building hundreds more demonstrated.
The protesters say the waste crisis reflects the rot inside Lebanon’s political system.
One man who was evicted from the ministry complained of rough treatment by the police.
“They first cut the electricity and the water… then they came in. We told them we would leave in a dignified manner but they hit everyone on the head as we walked down the stairs, for no reason,” he shouted.
The “You Stink” campaign has brought thousands of disaffected Lebanese onto the streets in recent weeks.
The movement which began over uncollected rubbish has evolved into a widespread protest against corruption and government incompetence.
The national unity government has struggled to take even basic decisions amid sectarian divisions and a wider crisis exacerbated by the war in Syria.