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Protesters clashing with security forces in Beirut on Aug. 8. Photo: Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas at protesters on Saturday who threw stones in Beirut over a massive explosion that devastated the city earlier this week, injuring roughly 6,000 people and leaving nearly 160 dead, AP reports.

Why it matters: Activists say political corruption and negligence are to blame for Tuesday's blast, caused by a store of ammonium nitrate left unsecured near the city's port for more than six years.

What they're saying: Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a televised speech Saturday he intends to propose early elections in a draft bill and said he would give all political parties two months to work on structural reforms.

  • Beirut’s governor said the explosion, by far the biggest blast in Lebanese history, caused an estimated $10 billion-$15 billion in damages, per AP. It also destroyed over 6,000 buildings and left hundreds of thousands of people without homes.

The state of play: Clashes between demonstrators and security forces erupted near Lebanon’s Parliament mid-afternoon Saturday, according to the New York Times.

  • Demonstrators pulled down concrete barriers and threw rocks at security forces, who retaliated with volleys of tear gas to push protesters from the area.
  • "Anger at the country’s top politicians was tangible at the protests in the square, where protesters erected gallows and conducted ceremonial hangings of cardboard cutouts of Mr. Aoun, Nabih Berri, the speaker of Parliament, and Mr. Nasrallah of Hezbollah," the Times writes.
  • Lebanese Red Cross officials said more than 110 people were wounded during the demonstrations and 32 people were taken to hospital, according to Reuters.

Before the explosion, Lebanon was already struggling with a crippling financial crisis, the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a massive influx of refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria.

Go deeper: Pentagon chief says "most believe" Beirut blast was an accident

Go deeper

Nov 10, 2020 - World

Exclusive: Bahaa Hariri says Lebanon and Israel should resolve disputes, move toward peace

Bahaa Hariri, the billionaire son of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, told Axios he thinks Lebanon and Israel should resolve their border disputes and move toward a peace deal.

Why it matters: Israel is an enemy country under Lebanese law, making this a very unusual statement from a member of one of Lebanon’s most prominent political dynasties. Bahaa’s brother Saad is currently trying to form a new government in Lebanon and is known for holding hardline positions on Israel.

24 mins ago - World

Iran's nuclear dilemma: Ramp up now or wait for Biden

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The world is waiting to see whether Iran will strike back at Israel or the U.S. over the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran's military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Senior Iranian officials have stressed that Iran will take revenge against the perpetrators, but also respond by continuing Fakhrizadeh’s legacy — the nuclear program. The key question is whether Iran will accelerate that work now, or wait to see what President-elect Biden puts on the table.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.