Beirut, Aug 8 (efe-epa).- Clashes between protesters and police broke out on Saturday in Beirut after thousands of people gathered in front of parliament demanding the resignation of the ruling elite over the fatal port explosion.
During the Day of Rage rallies, demonstrators gathered in Martyrs’ Square shouting “resignation” and a group of them tried to storm into the parliament building.
Anti-riot forces responded by deploying tear gas while some protesters threw stones at the police.
Shortly before the clashes, activists began to gather to march against the government and the ruling elite, whom they blame for the severe crisis gripping the country.
“We talk and talk but no one listens to us,” one told Efe.
They expressed their outrage over the explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that was unsafely stored at the Beirut port for six years.
“I come as a citizen who wants to secure his future,” another 18-years-old protester told Efe while carrying a white flour as a symbol of those killed in the blast.
The explosion, which took place at the Beirut port on Tuesday, killed 158 people and injured more than 6,000 people, Lebanon’s health ministry announced on Saturday.
It is estimated that a total of 21 people are still missing.
In the aftermath of the explosion, the Kataeb party announced the resignation of three parliament members.
Party president Sami Gemeyel announced that “the Kataeb PMs decided to resign from parliament”.
“We will come forward with all honest Lebanese for the sake of Lebanon, free and independent sovereign,” he added.
Party secretary General Nazar Najarian died on Tuesday from injuries he sustained in the explosion, which generated a powerful blast wave
Representatives from international organizations and countries have arrived in Beirut over the past few days to show solidarity with the Arab country.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay and foreign minister Mevlüt Avusoul were among the foreign politicians to arrive in the capital, the state-run NNA news agency reported.
Michel met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, speaker of parliament Nabih Berri and prime minister Hassan Diab, according to the report.
The European president arrived in Beirut after he and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called on European Union members to intensify support for Lebanon in the wake of the catastrophe.
Aoun on Saturday received a phone call from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who expressed condolences from Queen Elizabeth II.
US President Donald Trump also showed his solidarity with the Lebanese people during a phone call with Aoun, in which he vowed to send an emergency team.
These promises are expected to materialize during a donor conference for Beirut and the Lebanese people to be co-organized by France and the United Nations on Sunday.