Lebanon’s government officially stepped down on Monday night, less than a week after the destructive explosion in Beirut killed more than 160 people and injured more than 4,000 others.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab addressed Lebanon, officially announcing his and the rest of his government’s resignation due to the explosion, claiming that it is a “disaster beyond measure”.
During the speech, the Prime Minister constantly attacked the ruling political elite for helping out “an apparatus of corruption bigger than the state”.
Referring to several members of his cabinet, he claimed that the government has “fought valiantly and with dignity”, yet “Between us and change is a big powerful barrier”.
He remarked that the resignation comes as a way to “stand with the people”, who have all called for action after the explosion, which he described as an “earthquake that rocked the country”.
Prior to the stepping down of the government, three cabinet ministers had already quit their posts, as well as seven other members of parliament.
Ahead of the scheduled meeting on Monday evening, plenty of violent protests erupted outside of the prime minister’s office, with protestors throwing stones, fireworks and even Molotov cocktails at the security, who responded by sending numerous rounds of tear gas.
Additionally, some protestors attempted to try and jump over the blast walls outside the Parliament Square.
Lebanon is currently suffering from its worst economic crisis in decades, rising COVID-19 cases with most of them being undetected, and the government has also been accused on numerous occasions of corruption and of mismanagement of resources.
Plenty of Lebanese people saw the Beirut explosion on Tuesday as the last straw, with it destroying a significant part of the Lebanese capital.
Diab, who claimed that he was a reformer when it comes to politics, was brought into power last December, just two months after the previous government was brought down by a very strong uprising.
Diab’s government was supported by plenty of other major political parties, particularly Iran-backed political and militant group Hezbollah.
Since the anti-government protests started last October, Lebanon’s currency has fallen by a staggering 70%, with poverty increasing, as the World Bank predicts that by the end of 2020, half of the Lebanese population will be declared poor.
The protests during the weekend were some of the harshest that the country has seen in almost a year, with the whole of Beirut being furious at the government.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an investigation into the explosion to clarify matters.
French President Emmanuel Macron held an international donors’ conference on Sunday, during which 16 other heads of state were present, including U.S. President Donald Trump, agreeing on providing around $300 million (€254.788 million) in aid to Lebanon.