Lebanese Information Minister resigns following Beirut blast

Manal Abdel Samad becomes first Lebanese government official to resign after massive explosion kills 158 people, leaves thousands homless.

Gary Willig ,

Protest near parliament in Beirut
Protest near parliament in Beirut
Reuters

Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad submitted her resignation Sunday following the deadly explosion which rocked the capital of Beirut last week and the public outcry over the series of administrative failures which led to the tragedy.

Samad is the first Lebanese government official to resign since the massive explosion at the Beirut port which killed at least 158 people, injured over 5,000, and left 300,000 people homeless.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti resigned on August 3, one day before the explosion. Hitti cited an unwillingness within the government to change course and reform and warned that Lebanon was on the verge of becoming a "failed state."

"If they don't come together around the interests of the Lebanese people and save them, then the ship, God forbid, will sink with everyone on board," Hitti said.

Thousands of Lebanese citizens demonstrated against the government, which they blame for the explosion as well as the economic crisis which has gripped Lebanon this year.

Protesters stormed the foreign ministry in Beirut on Saturday. Demonstrators marched through streets ravaged by the blast, gathering in the central Martyrs' Square, where a truck was on fire, as their grief gave way to anger.

Amid the outpouring of rage, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he would seek early elections, saying it was the only way to "exit the country's structural crisis".



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