Beirut explosion: Lebanon’s police fire tear gas at anti-government protestors

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Lebanese security forces on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of the parliament building protesting the government’s incompetence in the wake of the deadly Beirut explosion.

Several protestors were injured as demonstrators threw stones at the security officers, the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.

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They also set fire to wooden panels and advertisement billboards and vandalized stores in central Beirut.

The protestors called for the resignation of the government and demanded those responsible for the explosion at the Port of Beirut to be held accountable.

Tuesday’s blast killed at least 137 people and injured more than 5,000, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the explosion was due to a stockpile of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate being stored at the port since 2013 without safety measures.

The explosion came as Lebanon was already knee-deep in its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

It added to the grievances of a protest movement that emerged in October to demand the removal of a political class deemed inept and corrupt.

Thursday's scuffles erupted as Lebanon's ambassador to Jordan resigned, saying 'total negligence' by the country's authorities signaled the need for a leadership change.

It is the second such resignation over Tuesday's blast, after lawmaker Marwan Hamadeh also stepped down on Wednesday.

- With AFP

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