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Lebanon: 2nd Day of Anti-Government Protests after Fury over Explosion

Lebanon: 2nd Day of Anti-Government Protests after Fury over Explosion

Sunday, 9 August, 2020 - 18:00
Police fire tear gas on protesters in downtown Beirut. Reuters

Lebanese police fired tear gas to try to disperse rock-throwing protesters blocking a road near parliament in Beirut on Sunday in a second day of anti-government demonstrations triggered by a deadly blast that destroyed swathes of the capital.


Fire broke out at an entrance to Parliament Square as demonstrators tried to break into a cordoned-off area, TV footage showed. Protesters also broke into the housing and transport ministry offices.


Riot police wearing body armor and carrying batons clashed with demonstrators as thousands converged on Parliament Square and nearby Martyrs' Square.


Tuesday's blast of more than 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate at Beirut Port killed 158 people and injured more than 6,000, compounding months of political and economic collapse and prompting furious calls for the government to quit.


Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said she was resigning on Sunday, citing the explosion and the failure of the government to carry out reforms.


Environment Minister Damianos Kattar followed suit, saying the government had lost a number of opportunities to reform.


Media reports said the economy minister is also expected to resign, adding to the woes of Prime Minister Hassan Diab.


Several lawmakers have also resigned.


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