Entire Lebanon Government Resigns Amid Anger, Mass Protests Over Beirut Blast

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that his government had "gone to great lengths to lay out a road map to save the country", but, corruption in Lebanon was "bigger than the state" itself.

India   |   11 Aug 2020 3:55 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-08-11T10:22:22+05:30
Writer : Reethu Ravi | Editor : Prateek Gautam | Creatives : Abhishek M
Entire Lebanon Government Resigns Amid Anger, Mass Protests Over Beirut Blast

Image Credits: NDTV

Lebanon's cabinet resigned amid public outrage over last week's devastating Beirut port explosion, Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced late on Monday, August 10.

"We are taking a step back to stand with the people, to wage the battle for change with them," PM Diab said in a televised address.

According to BBC, Diab said that his government had "gone to great lengths to lay out a road map to save the country". However, corruption in Lebanon was "bigger than the state" itself, and "a very thick and thorny wall separates us from change; a wall fortified by a class that is resorting to all dirty methods in order to resist and preserve its gains," he said.

"They knew that we pose a threat to them, and that the success of this government means a real change in this long-ruling class whose corruption has asphyxiated the country. Today we follow the will of the people in their demand to hold accountable those responsible for the disaster that has been in hiding for seven years, and their desire for real change," he added.

Monday saw the third day of anti-government demonstrations as the protestors took to the streets and clashed with police.

About 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored in the Beirut port warehouse, exploded on Tuesday, August 4, devastating the Lebanese capital. As many as 160 people were killed and over 6,000 were injured in the blast. Early investigations cited negligence for the explosion at the Beirut port.

The devastating blast occurred amid months of political and economic collapse in the city, resulting in furious calls for the government to quit. Over the weekend, thousands converged on Parliament Square and nearby Martyrs' Square, the police, clad in body armour and carrying batons, clashed with the stone-throwing protestors.

The protesters were furious over the government's failure to prevent the explosion. As many as 700 protesters were injured in clashes with the police on Saturday.

On Sunday, Manal Abdel Samad, the information minister quit her post, marking the first government resignation since the explosion last week. Following Samad's resignation, the environment minister, Damianos Kattar also resigned, who, in a statement, said that he was leaving in solidarity with the victims and the government had lost a number of opportunities to reform.

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