Tens of thousands of demonstrators demanded the resignation of Lebanon’s embattled government on Saturday, clashing with police and soldiers and railing at a political class they universally blamed for the catastrophic explosion that destroyed parts of Beirut last Tuesday.
The rally in the capital’s Martyrs’ Square was preceded by the resignation of three MPs from the nearby Lebanese parliament. The seething crowd called for others to follow, and Hassan Diab, the Lebanon prime minister, called for early elections, potentially after two months.
Earlier, the reaction of besieged leaders had been to license a hardline response from security forces, who barraged parts of the rally with teargas and fired into the air when rock-throwing protesters neared the parliamentary precinct. By 9pm, relentless barrages of teargas had cleared the square, but the energy and foreign ministries had been infiltrated by protesters and the environment ministry was torched.
Anger had built…