Protesters stormed the buildings of Lebanon's foreign, economy, energy, and environment ministries, as well as the Banking Association building, amid anti-government demonstrations in the wake of the deadly Beirut explosion, state news agency NNA reported on Saturday.
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.
Watch: Protesters storm #Lebanon’s foreign ministry building and put up banners that read “capital of the revolution” and “Beirut is a demilitarized city," amid anti-government demonstrations in the wake of the deadly #Beirut explosion.https://t.co/pHRtcxMaha pic.twitter.com/L1g9kLozak— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 8, 2020
"We are staying here. We call on the Lebanese people to occupy all the ministries," one demonstrator said on a megaphone.
Footage broadcast live by Lebanese TV channels also showed protesters taking over the energy ministry building as powerless police officers looked on, with one of the demonstrators saying: "They ruled Lebanon for 30 years, now Lebanon is ours."
"We entered the energy ministry and we are here to stay. They will be surprised by our actions," he said, referring to the ruling political class protesters want to remove.
Watch: Demonstrators burn pictures of #Lebanon's President Michel Aoun inside the Foreign Ministry building during protests over the government's handling of the massive #Beirut explosion that killed over 150 people on August 4.https://t.co/nonU2MoXb0 pic.twitter.com/JsC4FJiCjy— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 8, 2020
The explosion at Beirut port Tuesday that is widely blamed on the incompetence and corruption of the ruling elite killed at least 158 people, wounded 6,000 and made hundreds of thousands homeless.
- With Agencies