Saturday, October 24, 2020 | ePaper

Beirut explosion

Protests continue despite government's resignation

  • Print


Protests have taken place for a third consecutive night in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, amid mounting anger over the devastating explosion a week ago that reportedly killed more than 200 people.
Clashes broke out near the parliament building, with demonstrators throwing fireworks and police firing tear gas.
Hours earlier, the Lebanese cabinet submitted its resignation.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab blamed the blast on years of endemic corruption but avoided taking responsibility.
A fire is believed to have caused the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for six years without safety measures at Beirut's port.
The blast wave flattened nearby buildings and caused extensive damage over much of the rest of the city, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
Lebanon was already struggling with an unprecedented economic crisis before the disaster, with families pushed into poverty and hunger.
Since October, protesters have been demanding the complete overhaul of the political system, which they blame for government corruption and mismanagement.
Mr Diab, a university professor who took office in January with the support of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement and its allies following the resignation of the previous government, blamed last week's blast on the entrenched political elite.
"Their corruption created this tragedy," he said in a speech on Monday night. "Between us and change stands a thick wall protected by their dirty tactics."
Image caption Anti-government protesters launched fireworks at riot police
Mr Diab said that his caretaker administration would "follow the will of the people in their demand to hold accountable those responsible for the disaster".
The BBC's Tom Bateman in Beirut says it is unlikely the mass resignation of the government will remove much heat from the protests, as Lebanon's problems are only deepening.
A new prime minister will have to be chosen using the same system of sectarian politics at the root of many people's complaints, our correspondent adds.
Meanwhile, the recovery operation is continuing on the ground in Beirut.
The UN said on Tuesday that the World Food Programme would be sending 50,000 tonnes of wheat flour to Beirut to "stabilise the national supply and ensure there is no food shortage in the country", with 17,500 tonnes arriving within two weeks.
The head of the agency, David Beasley, warned on Monday that he was very concerned that Lebanon could run out of bread in about two-and-a-half weeks because 85% of the country's grain was usually delivered through Beirut's port.
Image caption The grain silo at Beirut's port was next to the epicentre of last week's explosion
Mr Beasley said it was urgent to get the port up and running, and that he believed it could be temporarily operational in two to three weeks.
A port official noted that the container terminal suffered "minimal damage" and that on Monday night a ship docked there for the first time since the explosion.

More News For this Category

HC directive was necessary to save ponds as water reservoir

The government has been asked to include the privately-owned ponds in urban areas across the country under the definition of a natural reservoir. A High Court Bench asked the

Rain across Bangladesh continues

Rain across Bangladesh continues

Staff Reporter :Many parts of the country are experiencing light to moderate rain which is likely to continue for the next 24 hours due to a depression over the

Price hike of essentials drives people into poverty

Reza Mahmud :Prices of essential commodities remained high in the markets despite government's various measures. As a result, consumers are bearing the burden of surplus cost.Besides, millions of low

The Gambia files memorial at ICJ showing Myanmar responsible for genocide against Rohingyas

News Desk :The Gambia on Friday filed a memorial of more than 500-pages in its lawsuit against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, showing how Myanmar government is

Woman raped by neighbour several times in Gazipur

Our Correspondent :A forty-year-old woman was raped multiple times by her neighbour who threatened to kill her only son if she did not comply.The incident happened in Kaliganj of

Substantial progress into Sinha murder investigation: RAB DG

Staff Reporter :Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun responding to queries of journalists after visiting the security arrangements at Ramna Kali Mandir in Dhaka on

Millions more head into UK Covid-19 lockdowns

AFP :Millions more people headed into coronavirus lockdowns in Britain on Friday, as the government boosted a financial support package but acknowledged failures in a hugely expensive testing program.Central

Nearly $600m pledged for Rohingyas, host community

BSS, Dhaka :The international community has pledged some 600 million US dollars to provide strong support for displaced and stateless Rohingya people, wherever they are in Bangladesh, Myanmar and

EC`s high officials under surveillance

Staff Reporter :The top officials of the Election Commission (EC) have been placed under surveillance on suspicion of their involment in the national identity card (NIDs) forgery, correction, duel

At last, a somewhat civil debate between Trump and Biden

At last, a somewhat civil debate between Trump and Biden

Al Jazeera :President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden drew sharp contrasts on policy issues and launched political attacks on each other in a televised debate, the