The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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September 18, 2015

The Daily Star - Anti-govt protesters declare end to 2-week hunger strike over 'pressure', September 18, 2015

Eleven protesters who have been on hunger strike for two weeks to urge the environment minister to resign declared that they would resume eating as a result of "pressure" from from police and other activists.

In a news conference Thursday from their protest site in Downtown Beirut, Waref Sleiman, the group's spokesperson, said police told him after his detention one day earlier that he would only be released if he and the others end their hunger strike.

He added that their deteriorating health conditions also influenced their decision.

Sleiman said the group will now join other activists in their protests and will remain in their current location outside the Environment Ministry as a permanent spot for meetings.

However a twelfth hunger striker, Ali Berro, said that he will continue with the hunger strike, and read the group’s four demands.

“We demand that the government approves the public sector salaries once and for all, agree on a new electoral law, hold elections as soon as possible, and take its hands off the Independent Municipal Fund treasury, giving back all municipalities their money,” Berro said.

He said he will continue his hunger strike from Riad al-Solh Square.

Sleiman told reporters that one of the hunger strikers woke up one day saying "he dreamed of a whole pot of mloukhiyeh, while another dreamed of lamb shawarma."

A woman who heard the remark hastily brought a tupperware of mloukhiyeh to the hunger strikers, who quickly devoured it.

The activists had launched the hunger strike on Sept. 3, two days after they and others entered the Environment Ministry and trapped Minister Mohammad Machnouk inside for several hours to demand his resignation over his failure to solve the garbage crisis.

Despite their long sit-in inside the building, the minister refused to resign or even meet with them. Riot police were later called in to remove the activists by force, leading to clashes between the protesters and security forces.

Machnouk finally met with the hunger strikers on Tuesday, but they described the meeting as “negative, with empty promises.”

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