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10 Aug, 2020 14:44

Lebanese PM to announce resignation of government 'soon' amid widespread protests - minister

Lebanese PM to announce resignation of government 'soon' amid widespread protests - minister

The “whole government” of Lebanon will resign shortly amid growing public anger and protests following the devastating explosion in Beirut port, Health Minister Hamad Hassan told reporters.

He told the press that Prime Minister Hassan Diab would make his way to the presidential palace to “hand over the resignation in the name of all the ministers.”

Hassan broke the news to journalists following a cabinet meeting in Beirut. The government's resignation will happen 'soon', Reuters reported, citing the minister.

Diab is set to address the public on Monday evening. 

Massive protests erupted in the days following last week's devastating explosion, with tens of thousands of citizens taking to the streets to demand the government's resignation.

Also on rt.com Fire breaks out as protesters attempt to storm Beirut parliament in second night of demonstrations (VIDEO)

Demonstrators blamed the government after it emerged that a stash of the massively explosive chemical ammonium nitrate had been stored in the port for years in unsafe conditions.

Lebanon's environment, information and justice ministers have already tendered their resignations amid the ongoing protests.

A group of customs and port officials were arrested in the aftermath of the blast and Diab promised on Saturday to call early parliamentary elections. However, neither measure calmed protesters, who stuck to their calls for a wholesale resignation of the government.

They gathered in Beirut for the second night in a row on Sunday, with crowds of masked demonstrators hurling stones at police near government buildings and managing to rip down some security barricades.

Diab's tenure as PM has been a tumultuous one. Coming to power in January, he presided over a country plagued by high unemployment and spiralling national debt.

Anti-government protests had already been frequent in recent months, but the catastrophic explosion, which killed at least 160 people, injured thousands, and left huge tracts of Beirut in ruins, served as a catalyst that ignited public rage.

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