Thousands of protesters pelted Lebanon’s parliamentary precinct with rocks on Sunday, demanding the fall of the government in the wake of the catastrophic blast that destroyed parts of Beirut last week.
The violent rally took place around sunset, as an international donor conference launched to fund the enormous cost of recovery resolved that the country would not be abandoned.
Rioters fought running battles with police and soldiers, who had retreated inside the fortified central Beirut district, allowing demonstrators closer. They defended their position with teargas, while hundreds of men lobbed rubble from the blast over wrought iron walls. The crowds were determined to break into the compound and attack the legislature, whose members have been universally blamed for the widespread dysfunction that led to the disaster.
As a result of Beirut explosion, at least 21 people remain missing, and 159 have been recorded as killed in what is being widely regarded as one of the worst industrial accidents in history. At least 6 000 people were wounded.