Some Lebanese called on Sunday for a sustained uprising to topple their leaders amid public fury over this week’s devastating explosion in Beirut; and the country’s top Christian Maronite cleric said the cabinet should resign.
Protesters have called on the government; to quit over what they say was negligence that led to Tuesday’s explosion. Anger boiled over into violent scenes in central Beirut on Saturday.
Christian Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai said the cabinet should resign as it cannot “change the way it governs”.
“The resignation of an MP or a minister is not enough … the whole government should resign; as it is unable to help the country recover,” he said in his Sunday sermon.
Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said she was resigning on Sunday, citing the explosion and the failure of the government to carry out reforms.
Saturday’s protests were the biggest since October when thousands of people took to the streets to demand an end to corruption, bad governance and mismanagement.
About 10,000 people gathered at Martyrs’ Square; at the evening whereas clashes erupted between police and protesters who tried to break down a barrier along a road leading to parliament. Some demonstrators stormed government ministries and the Association of Lebanese Banks.
Moreover people defied dozens of teargas canisters fired at them and hurled stones and firecrackers at riot police. One policeman was killed and the Red Cross said more than 170 people were injured.
“The police fired at me. But that won’t stop us from demonstrating until we change the government from top to bottom;” Younis Flayti, 55, a retired army officer, said on Sunday.
Also; mechanic Sabir Jamali sat beside a noose attached to a wooden frame in Martyrs’ Square, intended as a symbolic warning to Lebanese leaders to resign or face hanging.