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BEIRUT update!


Beirut protesters ‘take over’ Lebanon foreign ministry: Live

Group of protesters storms foreign ministry offices while police fire live bullets as thousands demonstrate in Beirut.

  • Lebanese authorities have taken into custody 19 people as part of an investigation.
  • US President Donald Trump says he will join a conference call to discuss aid to Lebanon.
  • At least 158 people were killed in the explosion and more than 6,000 others injured, but numbers are expected to rise as search-and-rescue operations continue for missing people.

INTERACTIVE: Beirut explosion map

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, August 8

15:49 GMT – Prime Minister Hassan Diab calls for early parliamentary elections

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called for early polls after Tuesday’s deadly blast, saying it’s the only way out of the country’s crisis.

In a national address, the premier said he will introduce a draft bill proposing early elections as thousands of angry protesters took to the streets.

“We can’t exit the country’s structural crisis without holding early parliamentary elections … We need a new political elite and a new parliament,’ Diab said.

He added that a national investigation into the blast will expand until it gets to “everyone involved” in the explosion.

15:47 GMT – Protestors take over Lebanese ministry of economy building

A group of protesters have taken over the offices of the ministry of economy in downtown Beirut, throwing down a rain of documents and a picture of President Michel Aoun, an Al Jazeera reporter at the scene said.

15:28 GMT – At least 32 protesters taken to hospitals, 110 treated at the scene

At least 32 demonstrators have been transported to nearby hospitals from Beirut’s protest site, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

More than 110 others are being treated at the scene in Martyr’s Square.

15:01 GMT – Group of protesters take over Lebanese foreign ministry

A group of protesters led by retired Lebanese army officers stormed the foreign ministry in central Beirut and declared it the “headquarters of the revolution”.

The demonstrators also burned a portrait of President Michel Aoun.

“We are staying here. We call on the Lebanese people to occupy all the ministries,” one demonstrator said on a megaphone.

The takeover, which was aired live on local TV, happened as most of the security forces’ attention was focused on a tense demonstration against the ruling elite a few hundred metres down the road.

— aljazeera