Demonstrations over port explosion turn violent in central Beirut, protesters take over government buildings

Thousands of protesters gathered in central Beirut seeking justice over Tuesday’s catastrophic explosion as riot police fire tear gas at those trying to break through a barrier to get to the parliament building.

A group of at least 100 demonstrators took over the offices of the ministry of economy in downtown Beirut, throwing down a rain of documents and a picture of President Michel Aoun.

Crowds estimated at between 5,000 and 7,000 took to the streets, including a march from one of the most devastated areas near the port to Martyrs’ Square.

Skirmishes with the police began early on. Some protesters hurled rocks and sticks, and the police replied with tear gas and rubber bullets. There were flashpoints at barricades designed to prevent demonstrators reaching parliament.

But a group of several dozen chanting anti-government slogans and burning a portrait of President Michel Aoun entered the foreign ministry and called for all ministries to be occupied.

Lebanese riot police fired tear gas at demonstrators.

Sounds of gunfire have also been heard from central Martyrs’ Square. However it wasn’t clear who fired.

The Lebanese Red Cross said that 110 people have been injured during the demonstrations and dozens were transferred to the hospitals.

The  Lebanese army issued a statement urging protesters to not destroy public or private property.

The planned protests also was meant to remember victims of the explosion. The blast killed over 150 people and injured over 6,000. Nearly 300,000 were made homeless.

A global leaders world conference will be held on Sunday to help raise funds. Former colonial power, France who shares close ties with Lebanon will attend the meet. President Trump is also expected to make presence.

United States has released an immediate fund of US$ 15 million and United Kingdom GBP£ 5 million