Lebanese Activists Sit-in to Protest Environmental Destruction

Cross Posted from The Daily Star

Tripoli residents organized a sit-in Wednesday to protest against the recent felling of several trees in the city and to demand answers on who was ultimately responsible for the decision.

Inhabitants of the northern city’s Al-Mina suburb held Wednesday’s sit-in on the city’s main boulevard. Protesters slammed the recent move, and also urged relevant authorities to undertake the necessary actions to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future.

However, the mayor of Al-Mina, Mohammad Issa, said the trees had been felled following a petition from other residents, who had demanded the trees be cut down after an incident two years ago in which a palm tree fell on a car and resulted in the death of a young woman.

In compliance with the resident’s petition, Issa said that 14 trees, none of which were older than 15 years, were cut down. The mayor also expressed his willingness to plant new trees to replace those which were cut down.

Residents described the felling of old trees as an environmental massacre. “Trees do not harm anyone; we need to preserve the green spaces in light of the growing usage of concrete,” said Zaki al-Zaylaa, an environmental activist.

Zaylaa added that cutting down such trees was irresponsible and questioned who had the authority to decide when trees can be cut down as such. Zaylaa, a member of an environmental committee affiliated to the municipal council, denied the committee had any role in cutting down the trees.

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