The head of Lebanon’s Maronite church called on the entire government to step down over the explosion, widely seen as proof of the rot at the core of the state.
Lebanese protesters enraged by the blast vowed to rally again after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries.
The Maronite patriarch, Bechara Boutros al-Rai, joined the chorus of people pressing Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet to step down over the explosion, which he said could be “described as a crime against humanity”.
“It is not enough for a lawmaker to resign here, or a minister to resign there,” Rai said in a Sunday sermon. “It is necessary, out of sensitivity to the feelings of the Lebanese and the immense responsibility required, for the entire government to resign, because it is incapable of moving the country forward.”
He also joined world leaders, international organizations and the angry Lebanese public by pressing for an international probe into an explosion authorities say was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate had languished for years.
President Michel Aoun on Friday rejected calls for an international investigation, which he said would “dilute the truth.” He reiterated his stance on Sunday, noting that an international probe would “waste time” and urging Lebanon’s judiciary to conduct a swift investigation.
Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad quit Sunday in the first government resignation since the catastrophic blast.
Also Minister of Environment and Administrative Development Damianos Kattar resigned . In his resignation letter he said the friends of my kids died as a result of the explosion, I can no longer serve in this government .
Minister of Economy Raoul Nehme also declared he will resign . He blamed criminal negligence within successive Lebanese governments for the devastating explosion.
There are reports that other ministers will follow . Reports circulated that Justice minister and Finance minister may also resign today
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”><a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lebanon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Lebanon</a>'s worst enemy is its own government. The causes of the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Beirut?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Beirut</a> catastrophe need investigation, but not by Lebanon, by an outside body, says <a href=”https://twitter.com/dwnews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@dwnews</a>'s Diana Hodali. <a href=”https://t.co/tSh8URbYwQ”>https://t.co/tSh8URbYwQ</a></p>— Wenzel Michalski (@WenzelMichalski) <a href=”https://twitter.com/WenzelMichalski/status/1292441450039382018?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>August 9, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
MP Neemat Frem also announced his resignation as Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said his party is trying to secure enough parliament resignations in order to force early elections as soon as possible.
At least six lawmakers have quit since the explosion.