On Tuesday (July 13), security forces fired tear gas at angry demonstrators who protested in front of a house in Beirut for a minister accused of obstructing the investigation of the explosion that took place in the port of the Lebanese capital there for nearly a year. According to local media, an unknown number of protesters were injured, most of them from inhaling tear gas. And the security forces reported that about 20 of their ranks were wounded.
Relatives of the victims of the August 4, 2020 explosion in the port of Beirut, which killed more than 200 people, began to demonstrate in the afternoon before they were joined in the evening by dozens of other demonstrators. Demonstrators tried to enter the building of Acting Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmy, and riot police forcibly used batons and tear gas to drive them away. The demonstration continued until late in the evening.
Rescuers immediately treated protesters who had suffocated with tear gas. A man was wounded in the head in a clash with members of the security forces.
More than 200 dead and 6,500 wounded
On August 4, 2020, the massive explosion was caused by a fire in a warehouse in the port that contained stored tons of ammonium nitrate. “Without precautions” By accepting special powers. In addition to more than 200 dead, the explosion left more than 6,500 wounded and destroyed entire neighborhoods in the Lebanese capital.
A local investigation has not yielded results so far, as no official has been held accountable. The demonstration, called by relatives of the blast victims who accused political leaders of interfering with the investigation, came after Mr. Fahmy earlier this month refused an investigative judge Tariq Bitar’s request to hear Abbas Ibrahim, the director. The powerful General Directorate of Public Security.
“By refusing to lift the immunity of Abbas Ibrahim, the Minister of Interior intervenes between us and the families of the victims and justice.”, regrets Paul Carpenter, who lost his 3-year-old daughter in the drama. “Kill us again”He told the French news agency, Mr. Najjar, who attended the demonstration. The demonstrators opened the entrance doors to Mr. Fahmy’s apartment building, displayed pictures of the victims, and placed white coffins in front of the building. “The people want to overthrow the regime”chanted.
NGOs turn to the United Nations
The investigative judge in charge of the investigation, Tariq Bitar, called on the House of Representatives to lift the immunity of three MPs who held ministerial positions. “For the trial of a possible intent to kill [et] neglect and abuse. Then Parliament asked “Degree” Additional before the immunity was lifted, the judge denied the request.
In June, around 50 NGOs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, called for an investigation by the United Nations into the tragedy after condemning Blatant political interference, impunity for senior politicians, and due process violations. in the Lebanese investigation.