Police officer dead, more than 175 wounded during anti-government protests in Beirut

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A police officer died on Saturday amid tense clashes with protesters during the anti-government demonstrations in the wake of the deadly Beirut explosion, Lebanese broadcaster LBCI reported.

The Lebanese Red Cross said it treated 175 people in the field and transported 63 other injured people to the hospital.

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Riot police fired tear gas at demonstrators trying to break through a barrier to get to the parliament building in Beirut and shots were heard as protests over this week's devastating explosion in the city grow.

Thousands of protesters had gathered in the streets of Beirut to voice their anger at the political elite they hold accountable for turning the capital into a disaster zone.

A group of protestors led by retired Lebanese army officers stormed the foreign ministry building and put up banners that read “capital of the revolution” and “Beirut is a demilitarized city.” They also burned a picture of Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

"We are staying here. We call on the Lebanese people to occupy all the ministries," one demonstrator said on a megaphone.

Lebanon, a country already reeling from an unprecedented economic crisis, and a surge in coronavirus infections, was struck by the massive explosion at the Port of Beirut on Tuesday which killed at least 154 people and injured more than 5,000.

The blast was so intense it smashed masonry, shattered windows, sucked furniture out of apartments onto the streets and left almost 300,000 people in disaster-stricken Beirut without homes fit to live in, according to Lebanese officials.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun had said the explosion was due to a stockpile of 2,750 metric tonnes of the industrial chemical ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and explosives, catching fire after having been stored at the port since 2013 without safety measures.

- With Agencies

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