BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Dozens of relatives of those killed in Lebanon’s port blast gathered Sunday to mark 11 months since the catastrophe and urge answers from a probe towards prosecuting those responsible.
Hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded on the dockside on August 4 last year, killing more than 200 people, injuring thousands, and ravaging swathes of the capital.
Among the men, women and children who rallied Sunday outside the port was 47-year-old mother of three Raghida al-Zein, dressed in black and clutching a portrait of her husband killed in the blast.
“I lost the pillar of our home, a friend. We have lost everything,” she said.
Nearby a teenager and young girl held up a banner that read: “The wives and children of the Beirut port martyrs demand justice.”
Ibrahim Hoteit, who lost his brother Sarwat, said the families of the victims needed to know the truth.
Retired army officer Elias Tanios Maalouf, 61, said he had lost his son George, a soldier who had been stationed at the entrance of the port when the fertilizer blew up on the evening of August 4, 2020.
“George was taken, and with it all the joy in life,” he said.
The judge investigating the blast said Friday he had summoned outgoing premier Hassan Diab and taken steps towards indicting several former ministers and security officials over the explosion.
A similar move led to his predecessor being thrown off the case in February, after causing uproar among the political elite for issuing charges against Diab and former cabinet ministers.
Lebanon’s government resigned after the explosion.