Lebanon’s Entire Government Resigns After Protests Over Beirut Explosion
Lebanon’s entire government has stepped down following last week’s explosion in Beirut, with Prime Minister Hassan Diab expected to resign within hours.
It comes after thousands of political protesters took to the street demanding change, following the blast that killed more than 200 people and injured 6,000 more.
The news was confirmed by Lebanon’s health minister Hamad Hassan, who announced the government had resigned during a cabinet meeting earlier today, August 10.
‘The whole government resigned,’ he told crowds of reporters, as per Sky News, before going on to say that the prime minister will be making his way to the presidential palace to ‘hand over the resignation in the name of all the ministers’.
Earlier today, it had been announced that justice minister Marie Claude Najm had already stepped down over the government’s handling of last week’s blast.
It has also been reported that a Lebanese judge has begun questioning head of state security Major General Tony Saliba, regarding the explosion.
The news comes after thousands of Lebanese citizens poured into the streets of Beirut chanting for a ‘revolution’ and calling for the ‘downfall of the regime’.
The explosion, which is believed to have been sparked more than 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate – the ingredient used in fertiliser bombs – was set alight, has been described as the biggest non-nuclear blast in history.
Fresh fury was sparked when it was revealed that President Michel Aoun had known that the warehouse contained dangerous explosives, yet no efforts were made to store them in a more secure and safe location.
Port officials involved in storing the explosives have been placed under house arrest pending an investigation into the blast.
The head of the port of Beirut and the head of the customs authority, Badri Daher, both claimed they had written to the judiciary several times asking that the chemical be exported or sold on, but Daher said ‘this did not happen’.
He added: ‘We leave it to the experts and those concerned to determine why.’
Lebanon was already struggling as a nation due to a severe financial crisis, with food prices soaring and many families left to starve. Some parts of the country were even seeing as many as 20 power cuts a day, as a result of chronic fuel shortages, long before the explosion destroyed hundreds of homes.
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