Aug 10, 2020
A week has passed since the tragic explosion that took place in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut on 4th August 2020. At approximately 6 pm, two explosions occurred in Beirut’s port causing over 200 deaths, thousands of injuries, and $15 million worth of damaged. An estimated 300,000 people were left homeless.
The explosion took place due to almost 3000 tones of ammonium nitrate, which was unsafely stored in the port for the last six years, which is equivalent to 1.2 kt of TNT. The ammonium nitrate was confiscated from MV Rhosus, a ship traveling with the explosives from Georgia to Mozambique. The ship was forbidden to sail as it was deemed unseaworthy due to its mechanical issues.
The blast caused fury among the Lebanese public, both residing in Lebanon and living abroad. On Monday following the explosions, anti-government protests took place outside Baabda palace, demanding that President Michel Aoun resigns. So far, several ministers have resigned included this minister of justice. “The entire regime needs to change. It will make no difference if there is a new government,” said civilian Joe Haddad, to Reuters, “We need quick elections.”
Last Saturday, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that early elections must take place in order to help the count escape its deep political and economic crisis. “We can’t exit the country’s structural crisis without holding early parliamentary elections,” the Prime Minister said in a televised address, “On Monday, I will propose to cabinet a draft bill for early parliamentary polls,” he added.
On Monday, Michel Aoun, Lebanon’s President accepted the government’s resignation. “This crime was a result of corruption that is bigger than the state”, said Prime Minister Hassan Diab, concluding that he was taking “a step back” and “fight the battle for change alongside them”.
Lebanon PM announces resignation amid turmoil (24:08)
“I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” Diab said, repeating the last phrase three times.
But the country’s problems did not start on the day of the blast. Corrupt political leadership and hyperinflation has damaged the country’s economy and the pandemic crippled its national health care system. Governments across the world offered financial aid to Lebanon, but the public pled them not to give the money to the Lebanese administration and give it directly to NGOs instead since they dop not trust that the government will utilize it the right way.
“Hang Michel Aoun!” the protesters shouted, a reference to the president, whose son-in-law is the FPM party leader. Others chanted a slogan that rhymes in Arabic: “Beirut is free, Iran go away,” in reference to Hezbollah. https://t.co/qaqeB8frov
— The Times (@thetimes) August 10, 2020