Activists carry a metal barrier as they protest against the ongoing trash crisis, in front of the Grand Serail in Beirut, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Police forcibly dispersed Wednesday a small group of demonstrators protesting in Downtown Beirut over the government's delay in solving the national garbage crisis, as the environment minister announced he would need at least until next Tuesday to award vital waste management contracts. Television footage showed medics removing a protester on a stretcher after police used force to disperse the demonstration. The protesters threw objects at the police, and the police fired back with water cannons. Officials are losing the public's trust, as waste collection services through Beirut and Mount Lebanon has been interrupted for a month.In a telling scene Tuesday night, police in Tripoli stopped two trucks smuggling garbage from Jounieh to the north.Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk lashed out at activists at a news conference Wednesday, blaming them for exacerbating the crisis. He said authorities need to open a landfill for country's trash, but demonstrators keep blocking such plans. Beirut has been dumping much of its trash in Karantina, by the port, but the lots there are running out of space.Averda handled the garbage for Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
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