Hundreds of protesters injured as anger simmers in Beirut

  • At least 728 people have been wounded in clashes with authorities as thousands of protesters hit the streets of central Beirut as riot police fire tear gas at those trying to break through a barrier to the parliament building. One police officer was also reported killed.

  • Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called for early polls after Tuesday’s deadly blast, saying it is the only way out of the country’s crisis.

  • Lebanese authorities have taken into custody 19 people as part of an investigation.

  • At least 158 people were killed in the explosion and more than 6,000 others injured, but numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue for missing people.
  • Sunday, August 9

    08:42 GMT – Lebanon’s information minister resigns in first gov’t resignation over blast

    Lebanon’s Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced her resignation, citing the failure of the government to carry out reforms and the catastrophic explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday.

    08:01 GMT – Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch says government must quit if it can’t change

    Lebanon’s Christian Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai called on the cabinet to resign if it cannot “change the way it governs” the country and help it to recover from Tuesday’s catastrophic explosion.

    07:23 GMT – Beirut port blast crater 43 metres deep, says security official

    The huge ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut’s port that devastated much of the city left a crater 43 metres (141 feet) deep, a security official.

    “The explosion in the port left a crater 43 meters deep” Tuesday, the official told AFP, citing reports by French experts conducting an assessment of the disaster area.

    06:41 GMT – German aid and relief supplies arrive in Beirut

    About 43 tonnes of relief supplies from the German Red Cross arrived in Beirut overnight, the German Ambassador to Lebanon said over Twitter.

    The aid, received by the Lebanese Red Cross, included medicine, first aid and protective equipment.

    00:10 GMT – Lebanese authorities accused of excessive use of force

    At least 14 journalists and other media workers have been attacked while covering the latest protests in Lebanon, according to a journalist for the independent news website The Public Source.

    Authorities have been accused of using excessive force against the protesters, who were demonstrating against government inaction following the deadly blast in Beirut on Tuesday.

    Saturday, August 8

    23:35 GMT – Hundreds injured during demonstrations in Beirut

    More than 728 people have been wounded following protests in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, in response to the deadly blast that killed at least 158 people on Tuesday.

    Protesters have been demanding action from the government amid the economic crisis the country is facing even before the disaster struck.

    18:59 GMT – Lebanese army expelling protesters from foreign ministry

    The Lebanese army drove out a group of protesters who had taken over the foreign ministry building in central Beirut hours earlier.

    The demonstrators, led by retired army officers, had stormed the building and declared it the “headquarters of the revolution”, but they were expelled three hours later when large army reinforcements muscled in.

    18:38 GMT – US says supports right of Lebanese to peaceful protest, urges political reforms

    The US government supports Lebanese demonstrators’ right to peaceful protest and urges all involved to refrain from violence, the US Embassy in Beirut said.

    The embassy also said in a tweet that the Lebanese people “deserve to have leaders who listen to them and change course to respond to popular demands for transparency and accountability”.

    18:13 GMT – Army and protesters clash near Beirut’s main highway

    Army soldiers and protesters clashed by Beirut’s main ring road near the city centre amid continuing anti-government rallies, an Al Jazeera reporter said.

    The army attacked protesters with sticks, beating a large number of them, while demonstrators responded by throwing rocks at the troops.

    “Take off the suit and come stand with us, then you can wear it again with honour,” a protester said as a number of them confronted a line of soldiers.

    “Tell us what you get from being with them? We really don’t understand it, why are you doing this to us?”

    16:57 GMT – Latest Lebanese Red Cross figures from protest site

    – At least 238 protesters have been wounded in central Beirut;

    – 63 protesters have been transported to nearby hospitals;

    – 175 others have been treated at the scene of the protests.

    16:38 GMT – Protesters storm Association of Banks HQ, energy ministry

    A group of protesters have stormed Lebanon’s Association of Banks, as well as the Lebanese energy ministry as part of their attempt to take over the country’s ministries.

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