Protesters carry an inverted photo of Machnouk during the rally.
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Riot police, using batons, cleared "You Stink" campaign protesters from the Environment Ministry in Downtown Beirut Tuesday night, ending some nine hours of blockade by activists who staged a sit-in calling for the minister's resignation over the protracted trash crisis.Despite a statement by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk calling on security forces not to use force in evicting protesters staging a sit-in inside the Environment Ministry, activists said they were beaten and forced to leave.The interior minister tweeted that if information that protesters were beaten by riot police was true, those responsible would be punished.Gen. Mohammad Ayyoubi asked all media to leave the building as riot police prepared to clear the floor where protesters continued their sit-in.LBC TV host Joe Maalouf, who was present when riot police began clearing the floor, said that protesters and media members were beaten and dragged from the building.All protesters were removed from the building by 9:30 p.m, after which local media reported that Machnouk left his office.Although the large majority of the protesters were peaceful, several small skirmishes broke out between demonstrators and police.
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