Lebanon’s minister for information has announced her resignation, becoming the first member of the government to do so since the explosion that killed at least 150 people. But protests are still going on in Beirut.
Lebanon’s Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad resigned from her post on Sunday, marking the first resignation by a government minister since the massive explosion shook Beirut and prompted mass protests.
Samad cited the failure of the government to carry out reforms and the catastrophic blast that hit Beirut on Tuesday, according to Lebanon’s Al Jadeed TV. Earlier in the week, the Ministry of Information had denied rumors of her impending resignation.
She also apologized to the Lebanese public for “failing” them.
“We did not live up to your expectations,” she said.
Critics have blamed corruption and poor leadership at the heart of Lebanon’s government for the explosion. The blast killed more than 150 people, leaving 6,000 injured and some 300,000 homeless.
Lebanon’s government has faced difficulties for some time and was already confronting an economic crisis before the explosion took place. Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti resigned on Monday, one day before the blast, blaming the government’s poor effort to pull the country out of its economic woes.
Protesters demand government accountability
Samad’s resignation comes after thousands of protesters took to the streets of Beirut on Saturday night.
Protesters occupied government buildings to voice discontent with government accountability and the handling of the crisis, calling for fresh elections, arrests and resignations — and even a revolution.
With damages estimated to be up to $15 billion (€12.7 billion), French President Emmanuel Macron was set to host an international aid conference on Sunday to raise money to rebuild the devastated city.
Macron is among the foreign leaders who have called for an urgent need for reform among the Lebanese political classes.
ed/stb (AFP, Reuters)