People Take To The Streets Protesting For Justice Over Beirut Port Explosion

AP/Hassan Ammar

People protested on Wednesday in front of the residence of Judge Fadi Sawwan, demanding that investigations into the disastrous August 4 no longer be delayed and to hold accountable everyone who was responsible for the tragedy.

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“We won’t accept indictments on low-level officials only, people in higher positions in the country should be punished as well,” a protester told local media reporters.

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The protesters marched from Sassine square in Ashrafieh to Judge Fadi Sawwan’s house, holding pictures of Lebanese officials as a message that they are all responsible for the explosion.

Judge Fadi Sawwan, the lead investigator on the blast, ordered on Wednesday the investigation of Public Works and Transportation Minister Michel Najjar, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, and Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm over their possible responsibility in the Beirut blast in August.

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He also asked Parliament to investigate the role of former ministers who held the same positions in the previous three Cabinets.

The Beirut Port explosion of August 4th killed at least 200 lives and injured thousands, while dozens remain missing.

Over 3 months later, and all that the Lebanese and the world know is that the blast was a result of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate carelessly stored by authorities in a port warehouse since 2014.

The lead investigator and judge has so far ordered the arrest of 25 low to mid-level officials and charged 33 for their roles in the port explosion.

The arrest included former port director Hasan Koraytem and Customs chief Badri Daher, whom President Michel Aoun has so far refused to fire in what he called a “ consideration of the principle of equality.”

Yet, consideration for the victims and justice doesn’t appear to prevail as a more important principle, and there has been no equality in persecuting all those who were involved, whether by act or by knowledge, regardless of their political positions.