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Organizers Postpone Monday Protests in Lebanon

  • VOA News

Organizers have postponed protests planned for Monday in Lebanon's capital, a day after demonstrations against the government ended in violent clashes with security forces.

The so-called "You Stink" campaign announced on Facebook that a protest set for Monday evening in Beirut would not go on and that organizers needed to re-evaluate their demands. They planned to hold a news conference to further explain their situation.

Sunday’s protests in Beirut began peacefully with thousands of people continuing to express their anger about trash that piled up around the country and broader frustrations about the political system that has failed for more than a year to install a new president.

But clashes began in the evening with security forces using water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds of protesters, some of whom threw rocks and bottles at officers and tried to tear down security barriers.

Organizers sought to distance themselves from the violence, saying they moved their demonstrations to another area and were not a part of the violence.

Officials said Sunday's clashes injured 43 protesters and 30 police officers.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam promised Sunday to hold accountable those responsible for using excessive force against protesters. Demonstrations on Saturday also included clashes with authorities.

Salam also said his Cabinet will meet Thursday to try to work out solutions, but that if the talks are not productive, "then there is no need for the council of ministers."

A resignation by Salam would further complicate the political situation in a country that has not had a president since Michel Suleiman's term expired in May 2014. The parliament is in charge of picking his successor, but lawmakers have failed more than two dozen times to agree on who should take the post.

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