Anti-government demonstrators plan to gather for a large-scale protest in Beirut's Martyrs' Square on Saturday, August 8. Participants plan to gather at 14:00 (local time) and the event is expected to be well attended due to increased anti-regime sentiment following a major explosion in the capital on Tuesday, August 4. There have been increasing demands for government accountability amid criticism of negligence causing the Port of Beirut explosion.
A heightened security presence and localized disruptions are expected in the vicinity of Saturday's demonstration. Associated protests are also expected in Beirut and across Lebanon in the coming days and clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.
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 damages. The blast is believed to have been caused by 2750 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 Beirut, and across 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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