Lebanese protesters, enraged by a deadly explosion blamed on government negligence, clash with security forces for the second evening near an access street to the parliament in central Beirut
Lebanese protesters, enraged by a deadly explosion blamed on government negligence, clash with security forces for the second evening near an access street to the parliament in central Beirut
Photo: AFP
Lebanese protesters, enraged by a deadly explosion blamed on government negligence, clash with security forces for the second evening near an access street to the parliament in central Beirut

Beirut protesters hurl rocks as anger over devastating blast reignites

Demonstrators gather around the capital's Parliament Square, call for the government and its Hezbollah ally to leave from power; top Christain cleric calls for cabinet to resign 'if it is unable to help the country'

Reuters |
Published: 08.09.20 , 21:35
Lebanese protesters hurled rocks at security forces blocking a road near parliament on Sunday in a second day of anti-government demonstrations after the devastating explosion in Beirut last Tuesday.
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  • Riot police wearing body armor and carrying batons clashed with demonstrators in chaotic scenes in central Beirut.
    Lebanese protesters, enraged by a deadly explosion blamed on government negligence, clash with security forces for the second evening near an access street to the parliament in central Beirut Lebanese protesters, enraged by a deadly explosion blamed on government negligence, clash with security forces for the second evening near an access street to the parliament in central Beirut
    Lebanese protesters, enraged by a deadly explosion blamed on government negligence, clash with security forces for the second evening near an access street to the parliament in central Beirut
    (Photo: AFP)
    Thousands of demonstrators were converging on Parliament Square and nearby Martyrs' Square, a Reuters correspondent said. "We want the entire government to leave, we want elections now," demonstrator Yusef Dour said
    "We gave these leaders so many chances to help us and they always failed. We want them all out, especially Hezbollah, because it's a militia and just intimidates people with its weapons," Walid Jamal, an unemployed demonstrator, said, referring to the country's most influential Iran-backed armed grouping that has ministers in the government.
    Christian Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai said the cabinet should resign as it cannot "change the way it governs".
    ההפגנות בביירותההפגנות בביירות
    Protestors in Beirut hanging an effigy of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
    "The resignation of an MP or a minister is not enough ... the whole government should resign as it is unable to help the country recover," he said in his Sunday sermon.
    Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said she was resigning on Sunday, citing the explosion and the failure of the government to carry out reforms.
    Saturday's protests were the biggest since October when thousands of people took to the streets to demand an end to corruption, bad governance and mismanagement.
    About 10,000 people gathered at Martyrs' Square, which was transformed into a battle zone in the evening between police and protesters who tried to break down a barrier along a road leading to parliament. Some demonstrators stormed government ministries and the Association of Lebanese Banks.
    התפרעויות בביירותהתפרעויות בביירות
    Protestors and police clashing in Beirut
    (Photo: Reuters)
    People defied dozens of tear gas canisters fired at them and hurled stones and firecrackers at riot police, some of whom were carried away to ambulances. One policeman was killed and the Red Cross said more than 170 people were injured.
    "The police fired at me. But that won't stop us from demonstrating until we change the government from top to bottom," Younis Flayti, 55, a retired army officer, said on Sunday.
    Nearby, mechanic Sabir Jamali sat beside a noose attached to a wooden frame in Martyrs' Square, intended as a symbolic warning to Lebanese leaders to resign or face hanging.
    הריסות  פיצוץ נמל ביירות לבנוןהריסות  פיצוץ נמל ביירות לבנון
    The damaged Beirut port following the explosion
    (Photo: AFP)
    "Every leader who oppresses us should be hanged," he said, adding he will protest again.
    Soldiers in vehicles mounted with machineguns were stationed beside the square on Sunday.
    Tuesday's catastrophic explosion killed 158 people and injured more than 6,000, destroying parts of the city and compounding months of political and economic meltdown.
    The army said that hope was fading of finding more survivors, Al Jadeed TV channel reported. The health ministry said on Saturday 21 people were missing.
    לבנון ביירות חיפוש נעדרים אסון פיצוץ נמללבנון ביירות חיפוש נעדרים אסון פיצוץ נמל
    Search and rescue workers looking for survivors at the site of the explosion
    (Photo: AP)
    "People should sleep in the streets and demonstrate against the government until it falls," said lawyer Maya Habli, as she surveyed the demolished port where the blast erupted.
    The prime minister and presidency have said 2,750 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, which is used in making fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years without safety measures at the port warehouse.
    The government has said it will hold those responsible to account.

    Gutted neighborhoods

    French President Emmanuel Macron was hosting U.S. President Donald Trump and other political leaders on Sunday for a UN-endorsed donors' conference by video to raise emergency relief for Lebanon.
    The emergency donor conference raised pledges worth nearly 253 million euros ($298 million) for immediate humanitarian relief on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron's office said.
    נשיא צרפת עמנואל מקרון ביירות עם תושבים אחרי אסון ה פיצוץ ב נמלנשיא צרפת עמנואל מקרון ביירות עם תושבים אחרי אסון ה פיצוץ ב נמל
    French President Emmanuel Macron visiting Beirut after the explosion
    (Photo: AFP)
    The explosion hit a city reeling from economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. For many it was a dreadful reminder of the 1975-1990 civil war that tore the nation apart and destroyed swathes of Beirut, much of which has since been rebuilt.
    "I worked in Kuwait for 15 years in sanitation to save money and build a gift shop in Lebanon and it was destroyed by the explosion," said Maroun Shehadi.
    "Nothing will change until our leaders just leave."
    The explosion gutted entire neighborhoods.
    When it hit, John Gharzo ran out of his apartment dripping blood on chairs.

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