At least 728 people have been wounded in clashes with authorities as thousands of protesters hit the streets of central Beirut as riot police fire tear gas at those trying to break through a barrier to the parliament building. One police officer was also reported killed.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called for early polls after Tuesday’s deadly blast, saying it is the only way out of the country’s crisis.
Lebanese authorities have taken into custody 19 people as part of an investigation.
At least 158 people were killed in the explosion and more than 6,000 others injured, but numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue for missing people.
Here are the latest updates:
Sunday, August 9
00:10 GMT – Lebanese authorities accused of excessive use of force
At least 14 journalists and other media workers have been attacked while covering the latest protests in Lebanon, according to a journalist for the independent news website The Public Source.
Authorities have been accused of using excessive force against the protesters, who were demonstrating against government inaction following the deadly blast in Beirut on Tuesday.
Excessive use of force ☑️
Attacking monitors ☑️
— Rawya Rageh (@RawyaRageh) August 8, 2020
Saturday, August 8
23:35 GMT – Hundreds injured during demonstrations in Beirut
More than 728 people have been wounded following protests in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, in response to the deadly blast that killed at least 158 people on Tuesday.
Protesters have been demanding action from the government amid the economic crisis the country is facing even before the disaster struck.
18:59 GMT – Lebanese army expelling protesters from foreign ministry
The Lebanese army drove out a group of protesters who had taken over the foreign ministry building in central Beirut hours earlier.
The demonstrators, led by retired army officers, had stormed the building and declared it the “headquarters of the revolution”, but they were expelled three hours later when large army reinforcements muscled in.
18:38 GMT – US says supports right of Lebanese to peaceful protest, urges political reforms
The US government supports Lebanese demonstrators’ right to peaceful protest and urges all involved to refrain from violence, the US Embassy in Beirut said.
The embassy also said in a tweet that the Lebanese people “deserve to have leaders who listen to them and change course to respond to popular demands for transparency and accountability”.
1/2 The Lebanese people have suffered too much and deserve to have leaders who listen to them and change course to respond to popular demands for transparency and accountability.
— U.S. Embassy Beirut (@usembassybeirut) August 8, 2020
18:13 GMT – Army and protesters clash near Beirut’s main highway
Army soldiers and protesters clashed by Beirut’s main ring road near the city centre amid continuing anti-government rallies, an Al Jazeera reporter said.
The army attacked protesters with sticks, beating a large number of them, while demonstrators responded by throwing rocks at the troops.
“Take off the suit and come stand with us, then you can wear it again with honour,” a protester said as a number of them confronted a line of soldiers.
“Tell us what you get from being with them? We really don’t understand it, why are you doing this to us?”
16:57 GMT – Latest Lebanese Red Cross figures from protest site
– At least 238 protesters have been wounded in central Beirut;
– 63 protesters have been transported to nearby hospitals;
– 175 others have been treated at the scene of the protests.
16:38 GMT – Protesters storm Association of Banks HQ, energy ministry
A group of protesters have stormed Lebanon’s Association of Banks, as well as the Lebanese energy ministry as part of their attempt to take over the country’s ministries.
ABL head Salim Sfeir and CB Governor Riad Salameh two keys figures in the collapse of the Lebanese pound and economy.
Protesters stormed the Association of Banks, “سقطت.”
— Lara Bitar (@LaraJBitar) August 8, 2020
16:18 GMT – Policeman killed in clashes with demonstrators in Beirut, police says
A Lebanese policeman was killed in clashes with demonstrators in central Beirut, a police spokesman said.
The protests against the ruling political establishment have also left more than 100 people injured and dozens hospitalised.
Al Jazeera and news agencies