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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.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

Texas to end all coronavirus restrictions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the White House in December 2020. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas will end its coronavirus restrictions next week with an upcoming executive order, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday during a press conference in Lubbock.

Why it matters: After Abbott signs the new order, which rescinds previous orders, all businesses can open to 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate will be over, though large parts of the state will remain under mask local ordinances.

Senate confirms Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 on Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department.

Why it matters: The agency promotes U.S. industry, oversees the Census Bureau, plays a key role in the government's study of climate change through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and evaluates emerging technology through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.