By Tony Winterburn • 08 August 2020 • 21:35
Beirut blast sparks violence and widespread protests in Lebanon. image: Twitter
A police officer has died and over 250 people have been injured in anti-government protests following the enormous explosion in Beirut.
Riot police fired tear gas after thousands of people gathered in the central Martyrs’ Square, initially, the demonstrators tried to break through a barrier to access the parliament building, before going on to storm several government ministries.
Earlier protestors tried to reach the parliament area in central Beirut and poured into the city’s main square, holding up symbolic nooses to ‘hang’ politicians for their negligence. They later set fire to a lorry that was acting as a barrier on a road leading to the parliament building. The police officer was killed after he fell down a lift shaft while being chased by an angry mob of protestors.
Dozens of protesters in Beirut eventually managed to enter the foreign ministry during a wider demonstration over Tuesday’s huge explosion that left at least 158 dead. Several thousand people were on the streets in a planned protest, which ended up in violence. Sounds of gunfire were also heard from central Martyrs’ Square.
Making a televised address, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he would ask for early elections as a way out of the crisis.
“We can’t exit the country’s structural crisis without holding early parliamentary elections,” he said. The issue will be discussed in the cabinet on this coming Monday.
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