Aug 10, 2020

Explosion Update: Lebanon Protests Rise as Government Resigns

Kristin Kerr

t’s been over a week since the massive explosion in Lebanon and political tension has drastically increased in the last week. Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced the resignation of the Lebanese Government this week, as the death toll from the blast rises to 200 some and public devastation continues to grow.

Lebanon Government Dilemma Continues Following Explosion

In a televised announcement last week, Diab released his news to the nation saying he has come to the conclusion that corruption in Lebanon is "bigger than the state.” The explosion was directly correlated to highly explosive material stored at the capital’s port for the past seven years, resulting in endemic corruption. Diab's resignation came as no surprise to most. Most Lebanese blame their 'corrupt' and 'negligent' leadership's for the explosion, which has caused up to an estimated $15 billion in damages.


Resignation Accepted

Lebanese President Michel Aoun accepted Diab’s government resignation and asked the Lebanese Government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is formed. As Lebanon's top judicial body, The Supreme Judicial Council had final say on Diab's decision to resign. The Supreme Judicial Council handles crimes infringing on Lebanon's national security. Going forward, Aoun must consult with parliamentary blocs regarding who will be the next prime minister. The candidate with the most support will be designated prime minister.


Taking a step back

The August 4 explosion really fuelled anger and unexpected politics amongst Lebanon publics. The country is already struggling with a major economic crisis. Prior to Diab’s televised announcement, there had been several riots in Beirut that didn’t end pleasantly. Protests unfortunately turned violent when riot police clashed with protesters in front of the parliament building, firing tear gas and live bullets in efforts to disperse crowds.


"I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon," Diab said, repeating the last phrase three times. Diab’s reasoning for the cabinet resignation is to take a step back so he can stand with the people and “fight the battle for change alongside them.”

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