BEIRUT — Dozens of relatives of victims of the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion gathered late Tuesday morning in front of Justice Palace to demand progress in the stalled investigation case.
"What we are witnessing is a second crime," Forces of Change MP Halimé El Kaakour, who was at the protest, told L'Orient Today. "This second crime is the stopping of the investigation, with clear political motivations," she said, criticizing caretaker Minister of Finance Youssef Khalil for not yet signing the judicial appointments necessary to advance the investigation, which have been blocked for several months.
Also at the demonstration, Forces of Change MP Michel Douaihy vowed to continue the protests calling for the investigation, adding that "a country without justice can not be built."
The port explosion on Aug. 4, 2020 killed more than 220 people and injured 6,500 others, destroying nearby neighborhoods.
Photos from our journalist showed scuffles between protesters and security forces deployed at the main gate leading to the Justice Palace.
A French investigating judge is expected in Lebanon with the mission to investigate the case, which is to be examined by Lebanese investigating judge Tarek Bitar. But Bitar no longer has control over the case amid numerous appeals for dismissal brought against him by officials suspected in the investigation.
The victims' relatives regularly protest against the lack of progress in the investigation and obstruction operated by politicians from all sides.
Additional reporting contributed by Mohamad Yassin