Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Thousands of protestors demand truth as Beirut pit collapses


Union Agencies (Beirut)

Yesterday, thousands of people commemorated the second anniversary of the deadly explosion at Beirut port, while additional sections of cracked wheat silos collapsed, in a scene that brought back the moment of tragedy in Lebanese minds. Shattered by successive crises in their country.
On August 4, 2020, the Port of Beirut witnessed a major explosion that killed more than two hundred people and injured more than 6,500, causing extensive damage to the facility and several neighborhoods in the capital.
“When the blast happened, we thought the truth would come out in five days, two years have passed and we don’t know anything,” said Aya Kasim, a 21-year-old medical student who took part in the protest. “Unfortunately, we are still here because the victims did not get justice,” he added.
Looking at a cloud of dust rising from the port after the collapse of the North Pits in Beirut, 30-year-old Lama Hashem told AFP: “Two years later I see the same scene from the same place.” And, with tears in his eyes, he said, “It is painful to see the same scene before us again and again.”
Victims’ families have organized three rallies, attended by thousands, the first of which began in front of the Palace of Justice, demanding an international investigation as domestic investigations are hampered by a culture of impunity in the country.
A second march was launched from fire brigade headquarters, covering the last of the nine members of the brigade who had rushed to the harbor moments before the explosion, killing all of them. Participants carried white wooden coffins, stained red and bearing the names of members of the fire brigade. The third march started from the city of Beirut, which has always been the center of popular demonstrations against the political class, accused of negligence and failure to manage the ensuing crisis. All three marches met at the port of Beirut. At minutes six and seven, the moment the explosion occurred two years ago, there were moments of silence, followed by the clapping of demonstrators, the sounds of civil defense vehicles and the fire brigade, which brutally lost nine of its members. incident
“It’s our right to know the truth,” said Mireille Khoury, who lost her son, as protesters held up red flags and pictures of the victims. The participants chanted a section in which they affirmed their will to continue the struggle until the “culprit” was identified.
Demonstrators carried a banner reading “No justice for the victims of the rule of militias and mafias”, accusing “Hezbollah” militants and the political class of interfering with the work of the judiciary.
Four new silos collapsed in Beirut’s grain bins just days before the marchers reached the harbor front, days after at least two silos collapsed last Sunday. According to officials and experts, the silos collapsed weeks after the fire as a result of fermentation of grain stocks due to humidity and high temperatures.
The affected families association has condemned the actions of the authorities in this senseless fire incident. In a statement released yesterday, he said: “You look down at the fire that has burned the garbage, without moving. And, “If any part of it should fall, we will be firm, insist, and sacrifice all our strength to preserve and protect the solid part of the silent testimony.”

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Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
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