In Lebanon, thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday in the streets of Beirut against the political class deemed responsible for the tragedy which left more than 150 dead, 6,000 injured, more than 300,000 homeless and missing. The government announces early parliamentary elections.
The demonstrators headed for the Place des Martyrs, the traditional epicenter of the demonstrations, with the slogan “Judgment Day”. Wooden guillotines were installed there and demonstrators waved ropes with a noose at the end.
The crowds chanted: “Vengeance, revenge, until the fall of the regime”. Some wore masks, others flags or portraits of victims of the blast, as security forces tried to prevent certain groups from advancing towards Parliament.
Protesters stormed the headquarters of the Banking Association in central Beirut, setting it on fire before being dislodged by the army. Other protesters took over the Department of Foreign Affairs and Commerce.
Security forces fired tear gas while some protesters threw stones at them. The explosion at the port on Tuesday, the circumstances of which are still not clear, was allegedly caused by a fire that affected a huge deposit of ammonium nitrate, a dangerous chemical.
–Early parliamentary elections-
The disputed Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced that he will propose early parliamentary elections. He believes that only “early elections can make it possible to get out of the structural crisis”.
“I call on all political parties to agree on the next step. Their leaders do not have much time, I am ready to continue to carry out my responsibilities for two months until they are set. okay, “he added, Mr. Diab said.
The UN and France will organize a support videoconference in Lebanon on Sunday. For France, this meeting should mark the beginning of an “emergency and hope for the future” of the country.
France did not want to give the amount of aid that could be released on Sunday, but the UN has estimated the cost of health needs alone at 85 million dollars. “The immediate objective is to provide for the emergency needs of Lebanon, on conditions which allow aid to go directly to the population”, explained the Elysee, aiming “for the consolidation of damaged buildings, emergency medical services, food aid and catering for hospitals and schools “.
The representatives of the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Jordan, Egypt will participate. Israel is “not in the round table”. Iran has “not shown its willingness to participate”, while “the Gulf countries have been invited”.
-A disaster of too much-
Lebanon is in the midst of an economic wreck, having defaulted on its debt, and its leaders have been unable to agree on a bailout with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
For the Lebanese already suffering from an unprecedented economic crisis, Tuesday’s explosion was the catastrophe too many, relaunching a protest movement that had started in October to denounce the entire ruling class, deemed corrupt and incompetent, but s was out of breath due to the Covid-19 pandemic.