Middle East

Mock gallows, tear gas and flying rocks. Beirut erupts in violent protest days after blast

Beirut erupted in violent protest on Saturday, days after an explosion ripped through the city laying waste to large parts of the Lebanese capital. Diab said he would introduce a law calling for early elections and said he would remain in government for two months until major parties can reach an agreement. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters hurled stones and fireworks at security forces. Parts of the central district were set ablaze and protesters took over at least one government ministry, declaring it the "headquarters of the revolution." Protesters occupied a foreign affairs ministry building and set at least one government office on fire, throwing documents out of the window, as unrest spread through the city. Tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into Beirut's Martyr's Square calling for "revenge" against the ruling class of politicians widely held responsible for the explosion that lay waste to large swathes of Lebanon's capital. The air was thick with tear gas as people filled the main protest site, with the demonstrations stretching to surrounding neighborhoods and the city's main motorway, in the biggest protests since a nationwide uprising last October. A Lebanese protester speaks with security forces in downtown Beirut on August 8, 2020.More than 100 people have been injured in the protests, including 22 who were transferred to hospitals, according to the Lebanese Red Cross. The security forces' response did not appear to disperse many of the angry protesters. One woman who fell over as she stumbled over people running in her direction, said: "They bombed our city. I will go back in." Her face soaked with tears, she picked up her belongings, as well as some stones, and headed back into the crowd. "You survive an explosion in Beirut only to be teargassed," said one man in his 20s as he held an onion to his mouth to mitigate the effects of the gas. Parts of the demonstrations remained peaceful, while other parts were predominantly filled with angry protesters who faced off with security forces. A Lebanese demonstrator breaks a shop window during clashes with security forces in Beirut.The demonstrators erected mock gallows in what were dubbed "Judgment Day" protests, as grief gave way to anger after more than 154 people were killed and dozens more remain missing. Over 5,000 people have been injured. Effigies of prominent political leaders, including former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, were hanged from nooses, in some of the most explicit signs of public outrage the country has seen in years. Protesters held signs reading, "Here is where the nooses should be hung." The mock gallows have become a key symbol of the demonstrations, which are demanding that those responsible for the Tuesday's blast are held accountable, as well as against corruption and mismanagement of the country.The effigies of leading politicians were attached to mock gallows which have become a key symbol of the demonstrations.The gallows were erected in the same place where several people were hanged more than 100 years ago by the then ruling Ottoman Empire for revolting against Istanbul. The Martyr's Square statue commemorates those executions.Protesters scaled the walls that have sealed off Beirut's Nejmeh Square, where Lebanon's parliament stands, for months, and attempted to tear the barricades down. In one video, soldiers were seen taking cover in archeological ruins as protesters threw rocks at them.Lebanese protesters hurl rocks towards security forces.Thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate are linked to Tuesday's catastrophic explosion in Beirut's port. Multiple government agencies in Lebanon were repeatedly warned about the substance, described by an analyst as a "floating bomb," CNN learned. "We were born and raised with this regime in place — we believe it's time for it to go especially after the last explosion," said 18-year-old protester Dana Itani. "These politicians deserve to be hanged here, they deserve even worse honestly." Protesters were calling for the downfall of the country's political elites. Protesters threw stones at riot police near Nejmeh Square."I livRead More – Source

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