The protests have been mostly coordinated by participants of the “You Stink” campaign, a group calling for answers to a crisis that began back in July when residents of a town hosting Lebanon’s largest landfill refused to allow garbage trucks to dump waste there, according to The Wall Street Journal. The protesters called for the government to find an alternative landfill site, but with no alternatives, garbage collection is at a standstill.
This weekend’s protests quickly turned ugly, as police fired water cannons and rubber bullets at the crowd. At least one protester died.
Drone footage shows the scale of the protest in the streets around Martyrs’ Square:
This isn’t the first time drones have been used to document protests.
“It’s a valuable tool — a way for reporters to get a perspective on the action and get a sense of the size of the protest,” said Faine Greenwood, an analyst at policy think tank New America, who studies the development of drones.
Aerial video of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests went viral in September 2014, showing shots of the crowd as it massed in the city’s business district. Months later, a drone showed footage of thousands of activists marching in Mexico City on November 20 demanding action from the government following the disappearances of 43 students in Mexico’s Guerrero state in September.
But there are also potential issues when using drones to cover protests, including safety reasons.
“You don’t want drones flying over people’s heads for no good reason other than just a gimmick,” Greenwood said.