Dozens of relatives of victims of firefighters who died in the August 4, 2020, Beirut blast gathered Thursday morning in front of Beirut's Palace of Justice to demand the resumption of the blast investigation.
Many protesters threatened to mobilize in a "more violent" demonstration if the investigation continues to stall.
Thursday's sit-in was intended as a "warning to the Supreme Council of the Judiciary" to re-launch the investigation into the tragedy, said activist William Noun to L'Orient-Le Jour. Noun's brother was a firefighter who died on Aug. 4, 2020.
"We tried the diplomatic way, but it did not work. So we decided to return to our old methods: the use of force in the street," he added.
Noun said the investigation must be relaunched by next week, or the demonstrations by victims' family members will be "even more violent."
The investigation into the port blast was suspended in February when investigating judge Tarek Bitar faced criticism from Ghassan Oueidat.
On Thursday, protesters burned tires in front of the gates of the Justice Palace in Beirut. The flames spread to the palace courtyard before the fire was extinguished by a police officer.
"The last time I was arrested, I signed pledges to demonstrate peacefully and not to attack state institutions, including the Justice Palace," Noun told L'Orient-Le Jour.
"But a few days later, Attorney General Ghassan Oueidat broke the law and released detainees [connected to the case]," Noun continued. "We are following his example and violating our commitments."
Noun was arrested in January 2023 after a demonstration during which he and other activists broke windows of the Justice Palace. At the time, he criticized Oueidat's decision to release 17 people who were being held in pre-trial detention in connection with the explosion.