Lebanon’s Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad (pictured above) announced on Sunday her resignation, citing the failure of the government to carry out reforms and the catastrophic explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday.
This is after Lebanese protesters stormed government ministries in Beirut and trashed the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks as shots rang out in increasingly angry demonstrations over this week’s devastating explosion.
The protesters said their politicians should resign and be punished for negligence they say led to Tuesday’s blast, the biggest ever to hit Beirut, that killed 158 people and injured more than 6,000, compounding months of political and economic meltdown.
The Red Cross said it had treated 117 people for injuries on the scene while another 55 were taken to hospital. Policemen wounded by stones were treated by ambulance workers. A fire broke out in central Martyrs’ Square.
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Dozens of protesters broke into the foreign ministry where they burnt a portrait of President Michel Aoun, a representative for many of a political class that has ruled Lebanon for decades and that they say is to blame for its current mess.
“We are staying here. We call on the Lebanese people to occupy all the ministries,” a demonstrator said by megaphone.
About 10,000 people gathered in Martyrs’ Square, some throwing stones. Police fired tear gas when some protesters tried to break through the barrier blocking a street leading to parliament, a Reuters journalist said.
Police confirmed shots and rubber bullets had been fired. It was not immediately clear who fired the shots. Riot police shot dozens of teargas canisters at protesters, who hit back with firecrackers and stones.