Lebanese security services locked down central Beirut on Wednesday ahead of a meeting of politicians aimed at discussing ways out of a political crisis that has paralysed government and fuelled a wave of street protests. Activists mobilising against government failures including a waste disposal crisis that has allowed garbage to pile up in Beirut have
called protests to coincide with the “national dialogue” called by parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri. Hundreds of soldiers lined entrances to downtown Beirut early on Wednesday, locking down the area home to the parliament building where the dialogue was due to begin at 11 a.m. (0800 GMT). Armoured vehicles lined streets in the sweltering summer heat as a sandstorm engulfed Lebanon for a second day. “This government is afraid of its people, closing the roads to a constitutional institution – the parliament. We should be protesting today in front of the parliament, peacefully,” said Marwan Maalouf, one of the founders of the “You Stink” campaign.