The You Stink movement protests the governing of Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who has lead Beirut into a trash crisis of emergency levels. With the closing of Beirut’s only landfill, trash piles up in the streets while politicians are locked in a frozen debate about a new trash solution.
You Stink’s peaceful protests were undercut by other aggressive revolutionists, who conformed with You Stink protestors and turned violent as riot police came to meet them in the streets of Beirut.
One of the captions from the photo journalist article reads:
“Lebanese activists clash with policemen as they try to cross to the government palace during a protest in downtown Beirut on August 23, 2015. Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam hinted Sunday he might resign after violent protests against government corruption and political dysfunction, triggered by a month-long trash crisis in Beirut. Salam also pledged that security forces that used violence against demonstrators would be held accountable.”
One contradiction in Salam’s actions is that his pledge to hold police accountable may not have any political worth if he were to resign. His pledge to hold police accountable for any unwarranted violence appears to be a promising sign of change in favor of the citizen; after all, this crisis is happening now, four years after the Tahrir Square protests that saw the actions of the police go unchecked. But if Salam is not in power, how can the people of Beirut trust that his pledge will stand?
Hopefully in class on Monday we catch up a little more with You Stink and Beirut; I’m interested to see what has unfolded since last August.