Anti-regime protest rocks Beirut

Seeking justice: People near the blast site in Beirut.

Seeking justice: People near the blast site in Beirut.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Riot police fired tear gas at demonstrators trying to break through a barrier to get to the Parliament building in Beirut on Saturday during a protest over the government’s handling of this week's devastating explosion in the city.

About 5,000 people gathered in Martyrs’ Square in the city centre, some throwing stones. Police fired tear gas when some protesters tried to break through the barrier blocking a street leading to Parliament, a Reuters journalist said.

The protesters chanted “the people want the fall of the regime,” and held posters saying “Leave, you are all killers.”

“We want a future with dignity, we don’t want the blood of the victims of the explosion wasted,” said Rose Sirour, one of the demonstrators. Tuesday’s blast in the port, the biggest explosion in Beirut’s history, killed 154 people, injured 5,000 and destroyed a swathe of the city. Some residents, struggling to clean up shattered homes, complain the government they see as corrupt has let them down again.

Lebanon’s Kataeb Party, a Christian group that opposes the government backed by the Iran-aligned Hezbollah, announced on Saturday the resignation of its three lawmakers from Parliament.

President Michel Aoun said on Friday an investigation would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference.

Mr. Aoun said the investigation would also weigh if the blast was due to negligence or an accident. Twenty people had been detained so far, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 11:23:07 PM |

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