Lebanese PM to deal brutally with anyone who applies force on protesters


Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam vowed Sunday to hold responsible anyone who used force against peaceful protesters, one day after police clashed with demonstrators in downtown Beirut.

“I will not cover up for anyone … Peaceful protests are a constitutional right and we should protect that right,” Salam said.

A demonstration organized by the “You Stink” campaign escalated Saturday into clashes between police and protesters, in which security forces used rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas to disperse thousands who joined the rally in Beirut.

At least 15 demonstrators and 35 officers were wounded.

Salam has called on civil society organizations and activists to form a delegation to meet with him to discuss the crises gripping the country.

However, the protesters, who gathered again Sunday at Riad al-Solh Square facing the Grand Serail in downtown Beirut, expressed anger after the premier’s speech, demanding that he resign to prove he is from the people.
Salam said he had previously warned about the consequences of the current political vacuum, which would only lead to the degradation of the state.

The protesters originally took to the streets to call for sustainable solutions to the garbage crisis, but later began demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and the cabinet as well as holding immediate parliamentary elections after Saturday’s clashes with security forces.

Salam also reiterated that the failure to elect a new head of state was contributing to the country’s collapse.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since the tenure of former President Michel Sleiman ended in May 2014. The parliament has failed, for dozens of times, to convene to elect an incumbent because of the lack of the constitutionally required quorum.

Salam also announced that a cabinet meeting would be held Thursday to discuss vital concerns of the country. He warned that “if Thursday’s cabinet session wasn’t productive, then the government is useless.”

Garbage has filled the streets in Lebanon since the city plunged into an unprecedented waste crisis following the closure of the Naameh landfill on July 17. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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