In day 2 of anti-government demonstrations, protesters broke into the housing and transport ministry offices
BEIRUT: Lebanese police fired tear gas to try to disperse rock-throwing protesters blocking a road near the parliament in Beirut on Sunday in a second day of anti-government demonstrations triggered by last week’s devastating blast.
Fire broke out at an entrance to Parliament Square as demonstrators tried to break into a cordoned-off area, TV footage showed. Protesters also broke into the housing and transport ministry offices. Tuesday’s blast killed nearly 160 people and injured more than 6,000, compounding months of political and economic collapse and prompting furious calls for the government to quit.
Riot police clashed with demonstrators as thousands converged on Parliament Square and Martyrs’ Square. “We gave these leaders so many chances to help us and they always failed. We want them out,” Walid Jamal, an unemployed protester, said. Information minister Manal Abdel Samad said she was resigning on Sunday, citing the explosion and the failure of the government to carry out reforms. Environment minister Damianos Kattar also quit.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said on Sunday an emergency donor conference for Lebanon raised pledges worth nearly €253 million ($298 million) for humanitarian relief.