BEIRUT — Families of the victims of the 2020 Beirut port explosion blocked the highway near the Statue of the Emigrant in front of the port silos on Tuesday evening, after the collapse of the last remaining silos in the structure’s northern block earlier in the day.
A spokesperson for the families said during a news conference near the silos that “today, we will only block the road, but if our demands are not met, the investigation does not take place, and the silos are demolished we will take a bigger step, and consider this a warning.”
The state’s official investigation into the blast remains stalled following complaints filed against its head, Judge Tarek Bitar, by MPs and public officials implicated in the probe.
Drivers and the protesters got into verbal fights as traffic congestion in the area grew. The army was deployed to contain the situation.
The families’ spokesperson also noted the victims’ relatives oppose the demolition of what remains of the southern block of the port silos, saying they would not allow "the graveyard" of their kids to be demolished.
The silos’ collapse sent up a cloud of dust and left behind the southern block, which consists of 12 silos believed to be stable.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati indicated Tuesday in a letter sent to Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh and seen by L’Orient Today that the remaining Beirut port silos will be preserved as a memorial and a demolition decree issued by the government in March will be revoked.