Huge crowds have gathered near Lebanon’s parliament building, blaming the government for the massive ammonium nitrate explosion. Police responded with tear gas after demonstrators threw stones and tried to break the barriers.
Livestream video from the streets shows riot police, armed with shields, pushing forward to disperse crowds from outside the parliament building as tear gas floods the air. Protesters, mostly masked to protect them from Covid-19, are throwing rocks and projectiles directly at the security forces – some of them hurling the projectiles directly back – and refusing to leave.
Thousands gathered on Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square, next to the parliament building on Saturday angry at the government of President Michel Aoun and demanding justice for the victims of Tuesday’s blast that claimed over 150 lives, injured hundreds and left many homeless.
Video shows that more demonstrators were marching there from Mar Mikhael, one of the areas most impacted by the explosion. The protesters are calling for the government to be overthrown.
March just departed from Mar Mikhael – one of the most impacted areas from the explosion – towards Martyrs’ Square in downtown Beirut. Calls to overthrow and behead the regime abound. pic.twitter.com/gtL6270xZv
— Nadim El Kak | نديم القاق (@NadimElkak) August 8, 2020
Saturday’s protest got tense with protesters trying to get close to Parliament and attempting to work their way past barricades protecting the building.
Tear gas blanketed much of this side of Downtown #Beirut. But protestors are now trying to climb over a barricade that leads to Parliament.They’re throwing rocks and whatever they can fine from the rubble.#Lebanonpic.twitter.com/Xdet67oiGk
— Kareem Chehayeb | كريم (@chehayebk) August 8, 2020
The ammonium nitrate that caused the massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday is currently being investigated, but many already believe it to be the result of negligence, as the highly explosive chemical was stored at a port for six years with little to no oversight or security measures.
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