The government of the United States declared on Saturday its support to Lebanese demonstrators' right to peaceful protests.
In a statement carried by the US embassy in Beirut, it said: “The Lebanese people have suffered too much and deserve to have leaders who listen to them and change course to respond to popular demands for transparency and accountability.”
It also urged all those involved in the popular protests that have raged in central Beirut to refrain from violence.
Lebanese protesters stormed government ministries in Beirut and trashed the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks on Saturday, TV footage showed, as shots were fired in growing protests over this week's devastating explosion, which killed over 150 people and wounded thousands.
The Red Cross said it had treated 117 people for injuries on the scene while another 55 were taken to hospital after Saturday’s protests. A fire broke out in central Martyrs' Square.
The protests were the biggest since October when thousands of people took to the streets in protest against the ruling elite's corruption, bad governance and mismanagement.
Tuesday’s blast was the biggest in Beirut's history. Twenty-one people were still reported as missing from the explosion, which destroyed a large swathe of the city.
The government has promised to hold those responsible to account. But few Lebanese are convinced. Some set up nooses on wooden frames as a symbolic warning to Lebanese leaders.
The prime minister and presidency have said 2,750 tons 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.