Relatives of Beirut Port Blast Victims Protest at Interior Minister’s House
More than 100 family members of the victims of last year’s massive explosion at Beirut’s port demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Beirut home of caretaker Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmy. Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators, who were protesting the minister’s refusal to let lead investigator Judge Tarek Bitar question Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security. Bitar was appointed to his position after the previous lead investigator, Judge Fadi Sawan, was removed from the case after complaints from two former ministers whom he had charged with negligence. The protesters, who say the investigation has avoided questioning any of the country’s top officials, forced their way into the building’s entrance, calling the interior minister a “terrorist” and writing on walls “Fahmy is a criminal.” Lebanon’s parliament is due to consider whether to lift the immunity on a number of senior officials, including the former finance, public works, and interior ministers, so that they can be questioned about their role in government decisions that led to the Aug. 4, 2020 explosion, which killed 207 people, injured more than 7,500, and devastated large parts of Lebanon’s capital, leaving around 300,000 people homeless.