BEIRUT — On the monthly anniversary of the Aug. 4, 2020 port blast, around 20 family members of the victims of the explosion gathered near the port under the Emigrant's statue on Tuesday, reported L'Orient Today's photographer on the scene.
The families held up pictures of their loved ones who were killed in the blast.
One of the spokespersons of the families said in a speech that they “will continue standing in front of anyone who will try to block the investigation whether it was a politicians, judges, security personnel or any other figure.”
The army was deployed to the scene but matters did not escalate.
The explosion injured some 6,500 people and ravaged entire neighborhoods. Families of the victims repeatedly demand justice, while the investigation led by Judge Tarek Bitar faces intense political interference.
Almost three years after the tragedy, the investigation was stalled by multiple political maneuvers and is currently suspended due to different complaints filed against Bitar, notably by MPs Ghazi Zeaiter, Ali Hassan Khalil and former Public Works Minister Youssef Fenianos — all of whom are being prosecuted in the investigation and had warrants filed for their arrest.
Despite being suspects in the investigation, Zeaiter and Khalil were elected to Lebanon's Parliament in May 2022.
Caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil, who is close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, was accused of impeding the investigation by not signing judicial appointments which have been blocked for several months, suspending the port blast probe.
Reporting contributed by Joao Sousa and Mohammed Yassin.