Beirut Blast: After a massive explosion that ripped through central Beirut on Tuesday and sent up a huge mushroom cloud-shaped shockwave, flipping cars, and damaging distant buildings, thousands of protesters gathered in central Beirut seeking justice on Saturday.
Violent protests gripped Beirut as demonstrators stormed several government ministries and had to face tear gas and rubber bullets in clashes with police. One policeman has been killed in the clashes; dozens of protesters wounded. Lebanese authorities have taken into custody 19 people as part of an investigation
Lebanese demanding an end to being ruled by corrupt sectarian warlords and a foreign backed militia.
Stay strong #Lebanon — we are taking our country back.
— #PrayForBeirut (@LebaneseProblem) August 8, 2020
The foreign ministry, the environment ministry, and the economy ministry were occupied by angry demonstrators who called for the downfall of Lebanon’s ruling elite five days after a blast ripped through the Lebanese capital causing widespread destruction.
Nearly 150 wounded & the attack on protesters is relentless. Armed forces firing tear gas from several directions to clear out the square. Snipers on rooftops.
— Lara Bitar (@LaraJBitar) August 8, 2020
Parts of the central district were set ablaze and when the protesters took over the Foreign Ministry, the first in a succession of popular takeovers, they declared it the “headquarters of the revolution.”
The blast killed more than 150, injured around 6,000, and left about 300,000 people without homes.
Lebanon PM announces upcoming elections
Hours after the protests first rocked Beirut, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has vowed to hold early elections as his beleaguered government faces calls to resign.
Diab said he would introduce a law calling for early elections and said he would remain in government for two months until major parties can reach an agreement.
In a national address, the premier said he will introduce a draft bill proposing early elections as thousands of angry protesters took to the streets.
“We can’t exit the country’s structural crisis without holding early parliamentary elections … We need a new political elite and a new parliament,’ Diab said.
He added that a national investigation into the blast will expand until it gets to “everyone involved” in the explosion.
— bader (@Baderd18Bader) August 8, 2020
The origins of the explosion that spurred the protests are not yet known. On Tuesday, two explosions in Beirut’s port area sent a red mushroom cloud thousands of feet into the air above the city. Lebanese officials say over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate, which is used to make both bombs and fertilizer, had been stored there for six years without safety measures.
Also watch|Lebanon: PM announces upcoming elections after locals protest in Beirut