Lebanese Information Minister Resigns Over Beirut Blast

Lebanon’s Information Minister, klManal Abdel Samad resigned from her post on Sunday, marking the first resignation by a government minister since the massive explosion shook Beirut and prompted mass protests.

Samad cited the failure of the government to carry out reforms and the catastrophic blast that hit Beirut on Tuesday, according to Lebanon’s Al Jadeed TV.

Earlier in the week, the Ministry of Information had denied rumors of her impending resignation.

She also apologized to the Lebanese public for “failing” them.

“We did not live up to your expectations,” she said.

“Those who died paid the price of a state that doesn’t care about anything except power and money,” said protester Tamara, 23, whose friend Rawan, 20, was killed in the blast.

“It’s not enough that ministers resign,” said another of her friends, Michel.

“Those who put the explosives there must be held accountable. We want an international tribunal to tell us who killed (Rawan).”

Samad’s resignation comes after thousands of protesters took to the streets of Beirut on Saturday night.

Protesters occupied government buildings to voice discontent with government accountability and the handling of the crisis, calling for fresh elections, arrests and resignations — and even a revolution.

Patriarch wants government to resign

In the country where power is divided between Maronite Christians, Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Lebanon’s top Maronite cleric said the entire government should step down.

The cabinet cannot “change the way it governs,” Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai said in his Sunday sermon.

“The resignation of an MP or a minister is not enough … the whole government should resign as it is unable to help the country recover,” he said.

With damages estimated to be up to $15 billion (€12.7 billion), French President Emmanuel Macron hosted an international aid conference on Sunday to raise money to rebuild the devastated city.

Macron is among the foreign leaders who have called for an urgent need for reform among the Lebanese political classes.

Deborah Adegoke

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