Lebanon's entire government resigns in aftermath of Beirut blast

10 August 2020, 15:37

Lebanon's entire government has resigned, its health minister has said
Lebanon's entire government has resigned, its health minister has said. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Lebanon's “whole government” has resigned in the wake of the deadly explosion in Beirut which killed more than 200 people, the nation's Prime Minister has confirmed.

The Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab formally announced the resignation a few hours after the health minister confirmed the news.

In a brief televised speech, Mr Diab said he is taking "a step back" so he can stand with the people "and fight the battle for change alongside them".

He said: "I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon," repeating the last phrase three times.

Three Cabinet members and seven members of Parliament had resigned on Sunday and Monday, prior to the decision.

Burnt out lorries are seen at the site of the explosion, which is thought to have killed 200 people
Burnt out lorries are seen at the site of the explosion, which is thought to have killed 200 people. Picture: PA
300,000 people have been left homeless as a result of the blast
300,000 people have been left homeless as a result of the blast. Picture: PA

The resignation comes as anger is mounting against the ruling elite, blamed for the chronic mismanagement and corruption that is believed to be behind the explosion in a Beirut Port warehouse

The city's governor earlier today said the death toll is believed to have reached 200, with many bodies expected to be trapped beneath rubble.

More than 6,000 have also been injured in the blast, which caused widespread devastation across the capital and obliterated the port.

It is believed the explosion was caused by over 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate which was unsafely stored in a warehouse at the port.

The disaster fuelled angry demonstrations on Saturday where protesters set up gallows and nooses in central Beirut and held mock hanging sessions of cut-out cardboard images of top Lebanese officials.

Demonstrators held signs that read "resign or hang".

The protests quickly turned violent when the demonstrators pelted stones at the security forces, who responded with heavy volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets.

One police officer was killed and dozens of people were hurt in confrontations that lasted for hours.

Protesters also fanned out around the city, storming a couple of government ministries.

They briefly took over the foreign ministry, saying it will be the headquarters of their movement.

More to follow...

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