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Lebanon parliament extends state of emergency

A Lebanese protester runs to avoid tear gas amid clashes with security forces in downtown Beirut on August 11, 2020, following a huge chemical explosion that devastated large parts of the capital.

Rana Aladdin
Press TV, Beirut

Lebanese lawmakers have extended for another month the state of emergency in Beirut, which was put into effect following last Tuesday’s blast in the capital.

Lebanon’s Parliament convened for its first session following the Beirut Port explosion to approve the extension of the state of emergency in the city.

Following the blast on August 4 that left Beirut a disaster zone, Cabinet declared a two-week state of emergency. Since the measure lasts more than eight days, Lebanese law states it must be approved by parliament. The state of emergency will now last until August 21.

The state of emergency grants the Lebanese army powers such as shutting assembly points, prohibiting gatherings it deems a threat to national security, and trying civilians in military courts.

Lebanese MP's called for unity and solidarity moving forward especially following the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s Cabinet as well as eight MP's.

The massive explosion that tore through the Lebanese capital last week, left half of the city in ruins. According to President Michel Aoun, the cost of damage is estimated at $15 billion.

Authorities say the blast was the result of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at Beirut Port for six years. Documents proved that officials had prior knowledge of the explosive material at the port.

Judicial sources say investigations will question both former and current Lebanese ministers to determine those responsible.

Lebanese officials say their main concern today is to bring about national unity and stability. The formation of a new government, conducting a criminal investigation, and rebuilding the city is at the top of their list.

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