BEIRUT: Four young Lebanese men announced Thursday they were going on hunger strike until Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk resigns, and erected a tent outside his ministry.
The protest comes two days after dozens of protesters from the You Stink movement occupied the ministry’s hallways demanding Machnouk’s resignation and transferring waste management from the government to municipalities.
However, the minister has refused to quit his post, even though he had announced his withdrawal from the ministerial committee responsible for reaching a solution to the ongoing garbage crisis.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam said he would not accept Machnouk's resignation because of the protest, and Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said he would follow in his colleague’s footsteps and resign in solidarity if he did so.
The hunger strike was started by activist Waref Sleiman Thursday afternoon. One hour later, his cousin Dany Sleiman and two other activists, identified as Ahmad Majzoub and Salah Jbeily announced they would participate as well.
Sleiman said the tent erected outside the Azarieh building in Downtown Beirut was not permanent, but underlined that he would remain in “the ministry’s vicinity” until his demands are met.