Scores of protesters took to the streets in Beirut to demonstrate against the country’s ruling class after a deadly blast left more than 130 dead and thousands injured, forcing two government ministers to resign.
As hopes faded of finding any survivors of Tuesday´s explosion, information minister Manal Abdel Samad and environment minister Damianos Kattar both announced their resignations Sunday, in a further hit to the embattled government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
Calling the explosion an “enormous catastrophe”, Kattar said he had lost hope in a “sterile regime that botched several opportunities”.
Several MPs also quit and local media reported Diab was mulling announcing the entire government´s resignation, a day after protesters briefly occupied and ransacked government ministries.
Hundreds gathered again in and around Martyrs´ Square, a short walk from the port where the devastating explosion occurred, killing at least 158 people and injuring a staggering 6,000, many bloodied by flying glass.
“Those who died paid the price of a state that doesn’t care about anything except power and money,” said protester Tamara, 23, whose friend Rawan, 20, was killed in the blast.
“It´s not enough that ministers resign,” said her friend Michel.
“Those who put the explosives there must be held accountable. We want an international tribunal to tell us who killed (Rawan).”
Police later fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters who hurled stones and let off fireworks near a street leading to parliament, AFP correspondents said.
Many wore helmets and gas masks, some wielded makeshift shields and others rushed to pick up smouldering tear gas shells and threw them back towards police.