The Government of Lebanon has resigned amid increasing public anger and widespread protests after the massive blast that occurred in the port area in Beirut on August 4. Prime Minister Hassan Diab addressed the nation to inform about his resignation before submitting it to President Michel Aoun on Monday evening. Diab, in his statement, said that the explosion that took place on 4th August was because of the corrupt political elite. He said, “Their corruption created this tragedy.”
Diab’s announcement of stepping down from the post of Prime Minister came as anti-government protests were going on in Beirut. According to reports, the Prime Minister and the President of Lebanon were warned about the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of Beirut. In the report, it was mentioned that if such an explosion takes place, it can destroy the whole city.
In just two weeks of the report, an explosion took place at the port that resulted in 163 deaths and loss worth billions of dollars. Lebanon is already struggling with an acute economic crisis, and the explosion followed by the resignation of the cabinet will lead to political uncertainty in the country.
Vast quantities of an explosive material ammonium nitrate was stored in a large warehouse near in Beirut’s port area. The blast registered 3.3 in the Richter Scale and had wiped out a chunk of the neighbourhood.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – A massive warehouse explosion sent a devastating blast wave across Beirut, Lebanon, killing at least 100 people and injuring nearly 4,000 https://t.co/22HvyzE4tD pic.twitter.com/YHQ7BhZpJM— Reuters (@Reuters) August 5, 2020
Prime Minister Hassan Diab in his television address to the nation before the resignation said, “we are taking a step back to stand with the people, to wage the battle for change with them.” He did not take any names in the address. He added, “I discovered that the system of corruption was bigger than the state and that this system bounds the state, and that it is not possible to confront it or get rid of it.”
Protesters say resignation is not enough
New clashed are erupting in Lebanon, creating battle zones between protestors and security forces. The protestors said that the resignation does not equate to their demands. The protesters are now claiming that they will force the President and the Speaker to resign as well.
Lebanon is neck-deep in problems
Before the resignation submitted by the Prime Minister, 20 cabinet ministers had already resigned. As of now, Diab will continue to serve the nation in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is chosen. In the last few months, Lebanon has seen a severe economic crisis. The country defaulted on a $1.2 billion payment for foreign bonds for the first time in history. The currency had already lost 80 percent of its value before the explosion. The blast is being seen as a result of poor governance that is blamed for the economic crisis as well.