Lebanese youth express their anger

After the sadness, the anger. Protesters briefly occupied ministries in what appeared to be coordinated operations on Saturday evening, as the anger of the Lebanese reached its peak against the political class accused of being responsible for the gigantic explosion at the port of Beirut which left hundreds of thousands homeless.

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These punching operations against ministries that the Lebanese consider to be symbols of mismanagement came after a demonstration by thousands of people in central Beirut, who expressed their rejection of the leaders they are calling to account after Tuesday’s blast. which killed 158 people.

The catastrophe of too many

Close to Place des Martyrs, the traditional epicenter of demonstrations in the capital, clashes pitted the security forces, who fired tear gas, against young protesters retaliating with stones.

For the Lebanese already suffering from an unprecedented economic crisis, the explosion which devastated part of the city was the catastrophe too many, relaunching a protest movement that had started in October to denounce the entire ruling class, judged corrupt and incompetent, but had run out of steam due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a televised speech, the contested Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, announced that he would propose early legislative elections, believing that only such a vote would allow “To get out of the structural crisis”. He said he was ready to stay in power ” during two months “, the time that the political forces agree.

A dead policeman, several dozen protesters injured

According to the Lebanese Red Cross, 63 people were injured during the violence that punctuated the demonstration and transported to hospitals, and 175 others were treated on the spot.

“A member of the Internal Security Forces died (…) while helping people trapped in the Le Gray hotel”, for his part indicated the Lebanese police, adding without further details that he had “Been attacked by a number of rioters who led to his fall and death”.

With the security forces’ attention focused on the clashes, around 200 protesters led by retired officers took the opportunity to storm the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry, claiming it “Headquarters of the Revolution”.

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Ex-General Sami Rammah called in a megaphone for the uprising and the pursuit of “All the corrupt” while demonstrators took down and trampled the portrait of President Michel Aoun. Sent as reinforcements, the army dislodged the demonstrators at the end of the evening, using rubber bullets and tear gas.

“Vengeance, revenge, until the fall of the regime”

Protesters also tried to take the headquarters of the Banking Association, setting it on fire before being evicted by the army. The protesters also invested the ministries of the economy and that of energy, symbol of the mismanagement of public services, power cuts fueling the rumble.

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“We are officially at war with our government”said activist Hayat Nazer. Banks have been the target of protesters’ anger since October because of the draconian restrictions imposed on withdrawals and transfers abroad.

On the Place des Martyrs, the watchword was “The Day of Judgment”. Wooden guillotines were installed. The hashtag # Hang them around for several days on social networks.

“Vengeance, revenge, until the fall of the regime”chanted the demonstrators, some masked, others carrying flags.

Resignation of the Minister of Information

The increasingly maligned Michel Aoun said on Friday he opposed an international investigation, saying the explosion could have been caused by negligence or by a missile. About twenty port and customs officials were arrested, according to judicial and security sources.

Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced on Sunday that she was leaving the government. “I apologize to the Lebanese, we could not meet their expectations”, the minister said in a brief televised address. This is the first resignation of its kind. Five deputies had resigned earlier, with among them, three elected from a Christian opposition party whose secretary general died in the explosion.

In a televised speech, the contested Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, announced that he would propose early legislative elections, believing that only such a vote would allow “To get out of the structural crisis”. He said he was ready to stay in power ” during two months “, the time that the political forces agree.

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