In the Lebanese capital Beirut, riot police fired tear gas canisters at a group of protesters trying to break through barricades. They wanted to advance to the parliament building in the city center.
About 5,000 protesters had gathered in Martyrs’ Square between the harbor and the city center to mourn and protest. They are demonstrating against how the government has handled the largest explosion in Beirut’s history.
They accuse the political elite of mismanagement. The massive explosion killed nearly 160 people and injured at least 6,000 people. Much of the city is in ruins.
The protesters shouted slogans such as “the people want the fall of the regime” and carried banners saying, “Get out, you are all murderers”.
“We want a dignified future. We do not want the blood of the victims of the explosion to be wasted,” said one of the protesters.
“The uprising and revolution continue,” said another. “President Michael Aoun, government leader Hassan Diab, and the entire political leadership are responsible for the disaster.”
Activists had called for the demonstration on social media under the slogan “Justice for the victims, revenge on the government.” Since October last year, there have been massive protests against the government. The protesters are demanding far-reaching political reforms. They accuse the political elite of corruption.