Beirut | Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced on Sunday that she was stepping down from the government, the first of its kind after the deadly and devastating explosion in the port of Beirut that traumatized public opinion and fueled anger against the negligence of the leaders.
Illustrating the extent of the anger in the country, the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Béchara Raï, himself demanded on Sunday the resignation of the government and the anticipated legislative elections.
The explosion at the port on Tuesday left at least 158 people dead and more than 6,000 injured, at least 120 of whom are in critical condition, according to the health ministry, and 21 people are still missing.
“After the enormous disaster in Beirut, I present my resignation from the government,” Ms. Abdel Samad said on Sunday in a brief televised address. “I apologize to the Lebanese, we were unable to meet their expectations.”
In recent days already, several deputies have resigned.
On Saturday, thousands of protesters angry at the ruling class accused of corruption, incompetence and neglect after the explosion, briefly stormed ministries and marched through downtown Beirut to cry for revenge. They brandished makeshift gallows symbolizing rage against the leaders.
“The resignation of a deputy here, of a minister there, is not enough”, launched during his Sunday sermon Cardinal Béchara Raï, quoted by his press service.
“It is necessary, out of respect for the feelings of the Lebanese and because of its extremely serious responsibility, to have the resignation of the entire government, unable to move the country forward, and to organize early legislative elections, rather than having a Parliament that does not not perform his duties, ”he added.
“It is what one can call a crime against humanity”, launched the Maronite patriarch, who enjoys an important influence, by evoking the tragedy of the port, calling for an “international investigation” so that all those responsible of this “massacre” are accountable.
He wondered about the reasons for the presence “of a gigantic quantity of explosive material kept for six years in the most dangerous place of the capital”.
In an attempt to appease the anger in the streets, the disputed Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on Saturday that he would propose early legislative elections and said he was ready to stay in power “for two months”, while the political forces s ‘hear.