Beirut blast: Lebanon minister resigns as public fury mounts

Updated: 10 August, 2020 11:17 IST | Agencies | Beirut

The resignation comes as public 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

Lebanese security forces confront protesters in Beirut. Pic/AFP
Lebanese security forces confront protesters in Beirut. Pic/AFP

Lebanon's information minister resigned on Sunday as the country grapples with the aftermath of the devastating blast that ripped through the capital and raised public anger to new levels.

The resignation comes as public 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.

Hundreds of tons of highly explosive material was stored in the waterfront hangar, and a blast sent a shock wave that killed at least 160 people, wounded nearly 6,000 and defaced the coastline of Beirut — destroying hundreds of buildings. Manal Abdel-Samad said in her resignation letter that change remained "elusive" and she regrets failing to fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

"Given the magnitude of the catastrophe caused by the Beirut earthquake that shook the nation and hurt our hearts and minds, and in respect for the martyrs, and the pains of the wounded, missing and displaced, and in response to the public will for change, I resign from the government," she wrote.

The disaster fueled angry demonstrations on Saturday where protesters set up gallows and nooses in 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.

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First Published: 10 August, 2020 08:53 IST

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