Lebanese PM and government resign in wake of Beirut explosion

Lebanese PM and government resign in wake of Beirut explosion
Hassan Diab

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced he is stepping down in the wake of the massive explosion in Beirut that has triggered public fury and protests.

In a brief televised speech, Mr Diab said he is taking “a step back” so he can stand with the people “and fight the battle for change alongside them”.

He said: “I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” repeating the last phrase three times.

Rescue workers and soldiers at the site of the explosion (AP/Bilal Hussein)

Moments earlier, Mr Diab’s cabinet resigned. The developments follow a weekend of anti-government protests in the wake of the August 4 explosion in Beirut’s port that caused widespread destruction, killed at least 160 people and injured about 6,000 others.

Mr Diab blamed corrupt politicians who preceded him for the “earthquake” that has hit Lebanon.

“They (political class) should have been ashamed of themselves because their corruption is what has led to this disaster that had been hidden for seven years,” he added.

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