Police fired tear gas at dozens of protesters who had gathered in downtown Beirut in the vicinity of the Parliament building during the evening of Thursday, August 6. Demonstrators also reportedly set a fire, vandalized shops, threw stones at security forces, and attempted to break through metal barriers blocking their entry into Nejmeh Square. Police responded by firing tear gas to disperse the crowd, and a number of demonstrators were injured in the clashes. Activists have called for further protests on Saturday, August 8, amid continued demands for government accountability following the August 4 Port of Beirut explosion.
Further demonstrations in the area are possible in the near term.
An explosion that occurred in the Port of Beirut on August 4 killed at least 157 people, injured 5000 others, and caused billions of Lebanese Pounds in damage. The blast is believed to have been caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which had been unsafely stored in the area. A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday, August 5, and 16 officials responsible for the operation of the port have been placed under arrest.
Allegations of mismanagement regarding the substance's storage come during sustained unrest since October 2019 over corruption and economic hardship within the country whereby protesters have called for reforms to the governance of Lebanon.
Individuals in Lebanon are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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