Protesters clashed with police in central Beirut for a third consecutive day on Monday, August 10, amid heightened tensions in the capital. Police reportedly fired tear gas after demonstrators began throwing stones at security forces guarding a roadblock near the parliament building as they attempted to reach Nijmeh Square, although there were no immediate reports of casualties. Hundreds of protesters have gathered in the area ahead of an announcement by Prime Minister Hassan Diab in which he is expected to announce the resignation of his government amid mounting criticism following the large explosion in the Port of Beirut on Tuesday, August 4, which devastated the city.
The clashes come two days after protesters stormed several government buildings, including the Foreign Ministry, during widespread protests in downtown Beirut demanding the resignation of the government. Around 10,000 people are estimated to have joined demonstrations in Martyrs' Square, which saw clashes with security forces throughout Saturday evening, August 8. More than 170 people were reported to have been injured in the unrest and at least one police officer was killed.
Further protests and clashes with security forces are likely in Beirut in the immediate term.
The explosion that occurred in the Port of Beirut on August 4 killed at least 163 people, injured over 6000 others, and caused widespread damage across the capital. The blast was caused by 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which had been unsafely stored in a port warehouse. A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday, August 5, and 20 officials responsible for the operation of the port have so far been placed under arrest.
Those 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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