thousands protest against government after explosions in Beirut

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More than 100 people were injured during the Beirut demonstration against the Lebanese authorities, and 32 had to be hospitalized, according to the Red Cross.

After the exasperation, the anger. Under the hasthag # Hang them, thousands of Lebanese poured into the streets of Beirut on Saturday August 8 to express their anger at the political class held responsible for the explosions which left more than 150 dead and 6,000 injured.

At the beginning of the afternoon, the demonstrators converged on the Place des Martyrs, the traditional epicenter of the demonstrations, with the slogan “Judgment Day”. Wooden guillotines were set up and some protesters waved ropes with a noose at the end. “The people want the fall of the regime”, they chanted, holding up placards demanding the departure of “assassins”.

Some protesters chanted “Vengeance, revenge, until the fall of the regime”, some wearing masks, others flags or portraits of the victims of the explosion. In the afternoon, security forces attempted to prevent certain groups from advancing towards Parliament.

In streets adjacent to the rally, they fired tear gas and clashes between them and some demonstrators who threw stones at them.“After three days of clearing the rubble and healing our wounds, it’s time to let our anger explode and punish them for killing people.”, said a protester met by AFP. “We must stand up against the whole system (…) the change must be commensurate with the scale of the disaster.”

Some demonstrators threw projectiles at the police who were blocking access to a street leading to the Chamber of Deputies, a Reuters journalist noted. Ambulances rushed to the scene. A teenager became unwell after inhaling tear gas. Military patrols have also been deployed in the area.

At the end of the day, demonstrators managed to enter the interior of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The eruption, broadcast live on television, came as the attention of security forces focused on the gathering of thousands of protesters in the city center.

“We took the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the headquarters of the Revolution”Retired General Sami Rammah said in a statement from the elegant steps of the ministry in front of some 200 people shouting “Revolution”. The protesters unfurled two huge red banners at the entrance of the traditional villa which suffered damage from the explosion, one proclaiming “Beirut, capital of the revolution”, and the other “Beirut, city without weapons “. According to journalists there, the army dislodged them in the evening.

Protesters also tried to take the headquarters of the Association of Banks, setting it on fire before being evicted by the army, according to an AFP photographer on the spot. The protesters also invested the ministries of the economy and that of energy. This sector is the symbol of the mismanagement of public services, because power cuts are frequent in the country. Banks have also been the target of protesters’ anger since October because of the draconian restrictions imposed on withdrawals and transfers abroad.

In the early evening, Lebanese police announced that a policeman had been killed. “A member of the Internal Security Forces died (…) while helping people trapped in the Le Gray hotel”, said the source, claiming he had “was attacked by a number of rioters which resulted in his downfall and death.”

According to a tweet from the Lebanese Red Cross, 63 people were injured during the protest and taken to hospitals, and 175 others treated there. Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced he will propose early parliamentary elections and says he is ready to stay in power “during two months”, the time that the political forces agree on this subject.

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