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Lebanon's PM Diab announces resignation of government

PM Hassan Diab said on Monday that he is taking “a step back” [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 August, 2020

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Lebanon’s PM Hassan Diab announced that he is stepping down from his job in the wake of the Beirut port explosion last week that triggered public fury and mass protests.

Lebanon's premier Hassan Diab stepped down Monday amid fury within and outside his government over the deadly Beirut port blast he blamed on the incompetence and corruption of a decades-old ruling class.

"Today we are heeding the people and their demands to hold accountable those responsible for a disaster," he said in a brief televised address, blaming a "corrupt" political class that has ruled Lebanon for more than 30 years for the August 4 explosion.

"This is why today I announce the resignation of the government."

The developments follow a weekend of anti-government protests in the wake of the August 4 explosion in Beirut's port that caused widespread destruction, killed at least 160 people and injured about 6,000 others.

Read also: #SayTheirNames: The victims of Beirut blasts

Six days after the enormous chemical blast which wreaked destruction across swathes of the capital and was felt as far away as the island of Cyprus, residents and volunteers were still clearing the debris off the streets.

International rescue teams with sniffer dogs and specialised equipment remained at work at the disaster's charred "ground zero", where the search was now for bodies and not survivors.

The Lebanese want heads to roll over the tragedy and are asking how a massive stockpile of volatile ammonium nitrate, a compound used primarily as a fertiliser, was left unsecured at the port for years.

The country's top officials have promised a swift and thorough investigation - but they have stopped short of agreeing to an independent probe led by foreign experts as demanded by the protesters.

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