Beirut explosion: Lebanon justice minister resigns after port blast

Three ministers have now resigned from Cabinet 

Bel Trew
Monday 10 August 2020 11:33
View from the ocean of Beirut's devastated port after warehouse explosion

Lebanon’s justice minister has announced her resignation from government, citing the deadly explosion at the port of Beirut.

Marie Claude Najm is the third minister to have stood down in the wake of the devastating blast in the Lebanese capital last Tuesday, which killed more than 160 people and injured more than 6,000 others.

Her announcement on Monday follows the resignation of Kattar Demianos, the country’s environment minister who is a close confidant of prime minister Hassan Diab.

Mr Demianos said in a statement late Sunday that he is leaving the government in solidarity with the victims, describing the ruling system as “flaccid and sterile”.

Hours before Mr Demianos' resignation, Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel-Samad had also stepped down saying in her resignation letter that change remained “elusive” and she regrets failing to fulfil the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

“Given the magnitude of the catastrophe caused by the Beirut earthquake that shook the nation and hurt our hearts and minds, and in respect for the martyrs, and the pains of the wounded, missing and displaced, and in response to the public will for change, I resign from the government,” she wrote.

If seven of the country’s 20-minister Cabinet resign, it has to effectively step down and remain in place as a caretaker government.

At least eight lawmakers have also left their positions in protest over what is thought to be the largest non-nuclear explosion in modern history as well as the government’s handling of the aftermath.

It signals that embattled government may be unravelling in the aftermath of Tuesday’s enormous blast that ripped through the capital, raising public anger to new levels.

Over the last two nights, the streets around the parliament in Beirut have been rocked by angry rallies and clashes between protesters and security forces.

A Cabinet meeting is due to be held on Monday afternoon, amid reports that the whole government could resign.

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