Protests Erupt in Beirut Following Explosion in Lebanon

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    Following the explosion in Lebanon many protests have erupted in response to what protesters and critics see as,” …corruption and poor leadership at the heart of Lebanon’s government for the explosion.” The explosion was at first thought to be caused by fireworks but Lebanese security chief believes stored combustibles are responsible for the massive explosion. Thousands of protests broke out, many wanting the government to take responsibility for the large amount of injuries and deaths caused by the explosion. Protesters were met with tear gas as a way to stop the anti-government rallies. Protesters want the government to step down as a whole and don’t see the step down of a few Ministers or MPs as enough. Information Minister, Manal Abdel Samad, resigned on Sunday and apologized to the citizens of Lebanon for not living up to what they were expected to and for failing the people. She was the first to step down after the explosion, with 8 more ministers and MPs followed. 

         The combustibles thought to be responsible for the explosion is called ammonium nitrate, used as an explosive and fertiliser. This substance was found on a Moldovan-flagged ship in 2013 that entered Beirut port due to technical issues. The boat was inspected, banned from continuing and left abandoned. The ammonium nitrate was then stored in a port warehouse, which was not in compliance with the way ammonium nitrate is supposed to be stored due to it being so highly explosive. Many critique the government for allowing this substance to be stored incorrectly for 6 years, left to be a ticking time bomb. When the public found out that negligence of this substance could have been the cause of the destructive explosion, outrage and furry spewed onto the streets of Beirut, resulting in protests.