The White House on Thursday called for a swift and transparent investigation into the Port of Beirut blast, hours after deadly clashes broke out in Beirut during a protest organized by Hezbollah.
The protest turned violent after Hezbollah and Amal Movement supporters marched toward the Justice Ministry to demand the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the investigation into the 2020 port blast, which killed over 200 and injured thousands more.
Asked about the clashes and the violence over the investigation, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US and the international community urged Lebanese authorities to complete “a swift and transparent investigation of the horrific explosion at the Port of Beirut.”
“The victims of the August 2020 port explosion deserve justice, and those responsible must be held accountable,” Psaki told Al Arabiya’s Washington Bureau chief, Nadia Bilbassy-Charters.
Earlier, the State Department called for calm in Lebanon. “The future of Lebanon’s democracy depends on the ability of its citizens to address the difficult issues with confidence in the rule of law,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.
“Judges must be free from violence; they must be free of threats. They must be free of intimidation, including that of Hezbollah,” he added.