Security Forces Scuffle with Demonstrators Angered by Blast


Lebanese security forces late Thursday fired tear gas to disperse dozens of anti-government demonstrators angered by a cataclysmic blast widely seen as the most shocking expression yet of their government's incompetence.

The scuffles in central Beirut took place in a ravaged street leading to parliament, the wreckage from Tuesday's explosion still littering the entire area.

Protesters had sparked a blaze, vandalised stores and lobbed stones at security forces, according to the state-run National News Agency.

Police responded with tear gas to disperse the small, but clearly furious crowd, wounding some demonstrators, NNA said. 

Tuesday's blast killed nearly 150 people, wounded at least 5,000 and destroyed entire districts of the capital.

Lebanese authorities said it was triggered by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate negligently stored in a warehouse at Beirut's port since 2013. 

This raised questions as to how such a huge cargo of the highly explosive substance could have been left unsecured for so long. 

The explosion came as Lebanon was already knee-deep in its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

It added to the grievances of a protest movement that emerged in October to demand the removal of a political class deemed inept and corrupt.

Activists have called for a large anti-government demonstration on Saturday -- an event they have titled "hang them by the gallows." 

Thursday's scuffles erupted as Lebanon's ambassador to Jordan resigned, saying 'total negligence' by the country's authorities signalled the need for a leadership change.

It is the second such resignation over Tuesday's blast, after lawmaker Marwan Hamadeh also stepped down on Wednesday.

Comments 5
Thumb ansarullah 07 August 2020, 08:50

God bless the Lebanese Army aka Hezbollah for protecting us from all evils including Israeli-American backed demonstrators.

Shia Shia Shia !!!

Missing striker 07 August 2020, 10:40

Your useless terrorist militia is slowly drowning, It is scared to death of the uprising situation. Lebanon will soon be free from the true poison. You are slaves to Iran and Bachar.

Missing levant 07 August 2020, 09:32

Typical iranian basij tactics. Cave men.

Thumb Geralt 07 August 2020, 10:45

General Joseph Aoun will lead the LAF to the cliff of disembodiment if he won't act wisely; that is take the power in force and implement, according to the constitution, a military govt that will take us out of this mess!

Of course military court will send many of the corrupted found politicians to the firing squad!

Missing marspluto 09 August 2020, 02:11

Tell me ansarwhatever how come the LAF is AKA Hezbollah? Because as far as I know the LAF is not a drug cartel or a terrorist organization....