One week after explosion at Beirut port, Lebanese pay homage to victims and demand accountability

Several hundred people gathered in the port of Beirut on Tuesday, August 11, a week after the deadly explosion.

At 6:08 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, church bells rang and mosques simultaneously issued a call to prayer in Beirut, at the exact time when the port explosion ravaged the Lebanese capital on August 4.

According to a new report from the Ministry of Health, the explosion left 171 dead and more than 6,000 injured, nearly 300,000 homeless and caused a political earthquake which has already led to the fall of the government on Monday.

Read the analysis: Lebanon resigned in political uncertainty

At the entrance to the port, several hundred people, most of them dressed in white, gathered on Tuesday, some from Gemmayzé, a nearby neighborhood devastated by the explosion.

“All, that means all”

Holding up placards each displaying the name of a victim, his nationality and a green cedar, emblem of Lebanon, they came to attention at the exact time of the explosion that blew up. entire neighborhoods. Some were crying, others could hardly hold back their tears.

Lebanese women pay tribute to the victims of the explosion of August 4, Tuesday August 11 in Beirut.

Images of the explosion and scenes of panic sparked in neighborhoods near the port, transformed into fields of tottering ruins, were shown on a giant screen. “We will not mourn, we will not wear black until we have buried the power”one of the speakers said.

Read the report: “The people are tired, we can no longer continue like this”: in Beirut, the fury of the street

Another ran through the endless list of the names of the victims, which also scrolled across the screen. “All, that means all”, chanted among the hundreds of people who came to pay homage to the victims, to demand the departure of the political class that they hold responsible for the tragedy.

Since the fall of 2019, the country was already in the grip of an unprecedented popular uprising, which had seen hundreds of thousands of Lebanese demonstrate to denounce economic difficulties which have only worsened, and an entire class policy almost unchanged for decades, accused of corruption and incompetence.

To appease the streets after the explosion, one catastrophe too many for a nation in crisis, the Hassan Diab government tendered its resignation on Monday. But a week to the day after the tragedy, the Lebanese demand that those responsible for the tragedy be brought to justice, demanding accountability for the state’s negligence.

At the origin of the gigantic explosion on August 4: a fire in a warehouse where 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years, a dangerous chemical substance without “Precautionary measures” by Mr. Diab’s own admission. The explosion razed the port. And in a country for several months in a state of economic collapse, the tragedy raises fears of food insecurity.

Our articles on the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon

The World with AFP

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