Thousands of Lebanese are preparing for a major demonstration against the political class on Saturday, blaming the terrible explosion that destroyed part of Beirut and left more than 150 dead.
After the explosions in the port of Beirut, anger is brewing in Lebanon. On Saturday, August 8, thousands of Lebanese intend to demonstrate against the political class they blame for the horrific explosion that left more than 150 dead.
Two days after a historic visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, diplomatic activities in Beirut intensified to organize international support for the affected country, ahead of a donors’ conference.
For the fourth day in a row, Beirut woke up to the sound of broken glass being collected on the street by residents and an army of volunteers, equipped with brooms, was mobilized from the first hour.
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The explosion in the harbor on Tuesday, the circumstances of which are still not clear, was reportedly caused by a fire that affected a huge deposit of ammonium nitrate, a dangerous chemical.
The disaster left at least 154 dead, more than 5,000 injured, of whom at least 120 are in critical condition, according to the Lebanese Ministry of Health, and nearly 300,000 homeless. More than 60 people are still missing as hopes of finding survivors decline.
Still in shock after this explosion of violence that has not been comparable to the country’s history, many Lebanese demand accountability from a political class they condemn for negligence and corruption.
At the Place des Martyrs, an episode of popular protest since October last year and where the demonstration is scheduled for the afternoon, under the theme “Doomsday”, activists have already erected a gallows.
“After three days of clearing away the debris and healing our wounds, it’s time to let our anger explode and punish them for killing people,” said Farès al-Hablabi, 28. “We must resist the whole system (… ), the change must be proportionate to the scale of the disaster. “
If the movement has stopped steaming in recent months, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tragedy may revive it again.
“The fear is that the authorities will benefit from this disaster”
“We have nothing more to lose. Everyone must take to the streets,” said Hayat Nazer, an activist behind many solidarity initiatives.
The increasingly battered President Michel Aoun made it clear on Friday that he opposed an international investigation and said that the explosion could have been caused by negligence or by a missile.
When foreign officials succeed with each other and international aid floods, Lebanon’s hated rulers are clearly trying to take advantage of the situation, says analyst Nasser Yassin from the Issam Fares Institute.
“The fear is that the authorities will take advantage of this disaster and the Arab and international attention to get back on the water,” he said.