Beirut: thousands of angry Lebanese demonstrate against government
Clashes erupted between the police and demonstrators during a demonstration against the government in Beirut on August 8, 2020. REUTERS / Hannah McKay
Text by: RFI Follow
This Saturday, thousands of Lebanese poured into the streets of Beirut, partially devastated by an explosion, to express their anger at the political class deemed responsible for the tragedy which left more than 150 dead and 6,000 injured.
In Beirut's Martyrs Square, this Saturday, thousands of Lebanese gathered to demand the resignation of the government, held responsible for the economic crisis and the deadly explosion that ravaged the capital last Tuesday. We could hear " revolution ", or even " hang them ", speaking of the political class.
Many young people, Lebanese flags on their shoulders, took part in the rally which began to take shape shortly after noon. A gigantic raised fist and dummy gallows had been erected, setting the tone for the demonstration.
" We are all the martyrs of this guilty government to the blood," explained José Labaké, 26, at the microphone of RFI . The first demand is the total resignation of anyone responsible, or not, for the explosion. From the Prime Minister, to the President, to the President of the Chamber, each, one after the other. They no longer have any place, they no longer have credibility and no more values in the eyes of the people. [...] The president betrayed his people on several occasions but this time it was the time too many . "
Clashes in front of Parliament
The Lebanese army and police had been deployed in numbers around the square, which did not prevent clashes from breaking out in the middle of the afternoon, our special envoy, Pierre Olivier , observed .
Protesters tried to enter Parliament. Usually, the Place de l'Etoile, where the building is located, is protected by large metal barriers and barbed wire. To overthrow these strongly guarded protections, some protesters did not hesitate to remove the paving stones from the road and throw them at the police.
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Lebanese riot police responded with tear gas, but some protesters still managed to sneak into Parliament. The police deplore many wounded in its ranks.
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- Michel Aoun
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