Police have unleashed tear gas and water cannons on thousands of Lebanese demonstrating in downtown Beirut against government corruption and political dysfunction that has left garbage accumulating in the streets in suburbs of the capital for over a month.

Protesters on Saturday shouted "The people want to topple the regime!" That's a phrase used by protesters during Arab Spring uprisings that toppled governments across the region. Others cried: "Revolution!"

It was the biggest protest since garbage began piling up on the streets after the capital's main landfill was closed a month ago. Some gunfire was heard in the streets, though there were no reports of anyone being wounded.

The government has been unable to find an alternative, amid government paralysis and bickering among politicians.