Lebanese protesters storm government ministries over Beirut explosion
Anti-government protesters stormed Lebanese government buildings including the foreign ministry as part of demonstrations following the deadly explosion in Beirut.
Police fired tear gas and clashed with the thousands of protesters who gathered in the centre of the Lebanese capital.
The Lebanese Red Cross said in a statement that at least 63 people had been transported to nearby hospitals and another 175 were treated at the scene.
According to AFP, at least one police officer has died in the clashes.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s prime minister said he would introduce legislation proposing early elections, calling on political parties to put aside disagreements.
Protesters widely blame government negligence and corruption for the explosion that killed more than 150 people and injured thousands earlier this week.
Officials have said the blast in Beirut was in part due to 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that was housed for years in a warehouse by the port.
Video shared on social media showed police firing tear gas at protesters who threw objects and attempted to access the parliament building.
Protesters who stormed the foreign ministry called for government ministers to resign.
There were impressive crowds gathered to protest with many observers stating that people appeared very angry over the explosion.
The explosion at Beirut’s port left at least 300,000 people in the Lebanese capital homeless and damaged nearly half of the city.
Lebanese customs officials claim to have alerted authorities to the presence of the stockpile of dangerous material at the port.
A dire economic situation
The explosion came during the worst economic recession in Lebanon on record. The Lebanese currency has lost 80 per cent of its value against the US dollar.
Lebanese people began protesting corruption in the government late last year amid the unprecedented economic crisis.
Protesters blamed the government for decades of corruption.
The country has been in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to save its sinking economy.