Disasters & Accidents

Lebanon information minister resigns over Beirut explosion

Beirut, Aug 9 (efe-epa).- Lebanese information minister Manal Abdel-Samad stepped down on Sunday after violent protests in the wake of the fatal Beirut explosion.

“I apologize to the Lebanese people whose aspiration we were not able to satisfy,” the minister said in a statement according to the Ministry of Information.

“The change became inaccessible and since the reality did not match the ambition and following the impact of the Beirut port, I tender my resignation from the government.”

Abdel-Samad was named information minister in January as part of the cabinet of Prime Minister Haddan Diab, who took office after Saad Hariri resigned in the wake of massive demonstrations.

Protesters have blamed the government for the severe crisis the country has been experiencing.

A day before the Beirut explosion, Nassif Hitti resigned as foreign minister over fears of a “failed state”.

The situation worsened on 4 August, when the powerful blast left 158 dead, around 6,000 injured, 21 people missing and between 200,000 and 250,000 others homeless.

The explosion was powered by nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that have been unsafely stored at Beirut port for six years, which angered the public even more.

Thousands of people on Saturday participated in a Judgment Day protest against the ruling elite at Martyrs’ Square in Beirut, erecting mock gallows and carrying effigies of figures such as former leader Hariri and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah with nooses around their necks.

Violent clashes broke out between activists and security forces, leaving 250 injured and one police officer dead.

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