Aggression is becoming high in Beirut
Some residents of Beirut were angry at their city’s negligence, which led to a fatal warehouse explosion this week, and they took to the streets on Thursday night to demand improvements.
Near the parliament, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas during clashes with anti-government demonstrators.
In the central square of Beirut’s mostly destroyed city center, a group of Lebanese, some digging up the wreckage with shovels, shouted: “The people want the power to fall.”
Lebanese authorities detained 16 people as part of an urgent investigation into the massive explosion that caused damage to the Beirut port area and most of the city on Tuesday. Traces of the explosion can be traced back to an estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate.
The Lebanese State News Agency said that Judge Fadi Akiki, the spokesperson of the military court, said that so far, more than 18 people have been questioned, including port and customs officials.
Akiki said that 16 people are currently in detention and others are still under investigation.
Tuesday’s explosion killed at least 137 people and injured thousands. Emergency rescuers have been searching for all the victims, screening among the rubble, and collapsed buildings.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut on Thursday, where he said he was there to provide support for the Lebanese people.
Many countries are sending emergency supplies and staff to Lebanon. On Thursday, aid received from Tunisia, Italy, Russia, and Morocco. Humanitarian groups are also assisting people.
According to UNICEF estimates, nearly 80,000 children have been displaced by the disaster.
Aid organizations say the violent explosion also damaged at least 12 medical institutions and destroyed a children’s hospital in Karantina. The report added that the port also destroyed personal protective equipment worth 10 containers and that the port used to be the main entry point for providing goods and assistance to Lebanon.
Ammonium nitrate, like the material stored in the warehouse, is used for many purposes, from making fertilizer to launching bombs. Lebanese leaders say that ammonium nitrate has been stored in dangerous conditions for many years.
People whose houses have been destroyed will not be able to use funds to repair or rebuild. Basic items such as wheat and medicine will soon be in short supply, because the port of Beirut, the main storage and supply site, has disappeared. It needs to be restored and a great effort.