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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: The Lebanese diaspora in London gathered in Hyde Park on Saturday in a protest showing solidarity for those demonstrating in Beirut.
At least 100 people — both Lebanese and non-Lebanese — showed up at the protest denouncing government corruption and negligence following the port explosion that killed at least 158 people, injured more than 6,000 and left 300,000 homeless.
“It is very important to show support and solidarity with our fellow Lebanese protesting in the country,” one protester said. “Here in London we can peacefully protest, but those in Lebanon must go through attacks by both the internal security forces and political leaders’ thugs.”
Many of the chants at the London protest targeted politicians from across Lebanon’s ruling elite, including Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.
“Terrorist, terrorist, Hassan Nasrallah is a terrorist,” was one of the slogans chanted at the protest.
Another was: “All of them means all of them, and your leader is one of them.”
The Lebanese national anthem was played at the beginning of the protest following a moment of silence to honor those who were killed in the explosion. Protesters were seen breaking down in tears as the names of those who died were read aloud.
Posters carried pictures of the victims, with others carrying the message that “their blood is on your hands” — referencing the government’s negligence around the cause of the explosion.
The Lebanese government announced that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was located in one of the warehouses in the port and was the main cause of the blast’s immense power. Lebanese President Michel Aoun did not rule out the involvement of foreign interference.
“The incident might be a result of negligence or external intervention through a missile or a bomb,” Aoun said on Friday.
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