Downtown Beirut is witnessing confrontations between security forces and activists trying to reach the Lebanese Parliament, to demand accountability for those responsible for the port explosion and the departure of the ruling political class.
The protesters threw stones at the security forces, and in turn responded by firing tear gas grenades, and riot police - whose members carry shields and sticks - clashed with the demonstrators, in scenes that spread chaos in central Beirut.
Martyrs' Square in the center of the capital Beirut witnessed a gathering to demand accountability for those responsible for the Beirut port explosion.
Participants in the gathering condemned what they described as negligence and corruption in the state's administrations and institutions, and demanded an immediate investigation to uncover the causes of the explosion and hold those responsible accountable.
The protesters also called for the resignation of Hassan Diab's government and early parliamentary elections.
Footage broadcast by Lebanese TV channels showed a fire broke out at the entrance to Parliament Square in central Beirut, as hundreds of angry anti-government protesters tried to storm the fenced area.
In light of the escalating debate in Lebanon after the port explosion, Representative Michel Moawad announced his resignation from the Lebanese Parliament, which raises the number of deputies who resigned after the explosion to 9.
The resigning deputies are: Marwan Hamadeh and Henri Helou from the Democratic Gathering bloc (affiliated with Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party), Sami Gemayel, Elias Hanaksh and Nadim al-Jamil (from the Kataeb Party), Paula Yacoubian, Naama Afram, Michel Moawad and Dima Jamali (independents).
In addition to the deputies, two ministers - namely: Environment Minister Dimianos Kattar and Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad - announced their resignation from the government, and the resigned Minister of Information said that her step came after the explosion of the Beirut port and the inability to bring about the desired change.
The government is resilient
Commenting on the street pressures and the resignation of two ministers, Lebanese Labor Minister Lamia Yammine said - today, Sunday - that there is no decision to resign the government due to the explosion of the Beirut port on 4 August.
The minister's statement came after a ministerial meeting that brought together Prime Minister Hassan Diab and a number of ministers.
After the meeting, Minister of Industry Imad Hoballah said, "The government is steadfast, and we continue to work and carry out our responsibility towards the people," while the rest of the ministers did not make statements about the future of the government.
Little hope of finding any survivors
On the other hand, the Lebanese army announced - today, Sunday - that there is little hope of finding survivors at the site of the Beirut explosion, where Lebanese and foreign rescue teams are working in search of people trapped under the rubble of the destroyed port.
"It is possible to say that we have finished the first stage, which is the stage of the possibility of finding survivors," Colonel Roger Khoury, commander of the Army Engineering Regiment, said in a press conference.
He added, "As technicians working on the ground, we can say that there is little hope in finding survivors. Therefore, several teams decided to withdraw their elements (...) after they considered that their work was finished," while other teams remained to work on removing the rubble and searching for the remains of the victims.
A few days ago, aid workers from Lebanon and other countries have been searching for survivors, and operations have focused at the entrance to a room controlling the waste of wheat, which has become meters deep under the rubble, where it is believed that many people were working there at the moment of the explosion.
The center of the capital, Beirut, witnessed a boil of anger on Saturday, and these protests were the largest expression of anger since last October, when thousands of people took to the streets to protest corruption, bad governance and management.
About 10,000 people gathered in the Martyrs Square, which had turned into an arena for confrontations in the evening between the police and the protesters, who tried to drop a roadblock on the road leading to Parliament. Some demonstrators stormed government ministries and the Association of Banks in Lebanon.
The demonstrators challenged the tear gas canisters fired at them by dozens, and threw stones and fireworks at the security forces, which necessitated the transfer of some police officers to ambulances to be treated for the injuries they sustained. A policeman was killed, and the Red Cross said more than 170 people were injured.
The explosion at the port killed dozens, injured thousands, and destroyed large swaths of the city. The protesters - who were already angry at the grinding economic crisis that the country is going through - called for the government to resign due to what they say was negligence that led to the explosion.