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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.

43 mins ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.