Beirut Blast — Interpol Investigates, People Protest

  • Among others, the special unit includes specialists in identifying victims.
  • Many citizens of Lebanon are angry with the nation’s government, accusing it of corruption and incompetence.
  • Lebanese booed their own President and asked France's Macron for help.

The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) announced on Friday that, at the request of the Lebanese authorities, it would send a crisis management team to Beirut, where Tuesday’s strong explosions caused at least 154 deaths and more than 5,000 injuries.

The International Criminal Police Organization (official abbreviation ICPO-INTERPOL), commonly known as INTERPOL, is an international organisation that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control. Headquartered in Lyon, France, it has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organization.

In a statement, Interpol, which is based in Lyon, France, said that, among others, the special unit includes specialists in identifying victims. This type of team is only sent when there is a formal request from a member country of the organization.

“INTERPOL’s experience in providing this type of help can significantly help national authorities and we will continue to provide whatever assistance is required and requested by Lebanon,” the INTERPOL Chief Jurgen Stock said.

In addition to helping to manage unexpected crises, such as accidents or natural disasters of great magnitude, Interpol also provides support in serious or far-reaching police matters. “The tragic explosion has left the city, indeed country, and countless families reeling,” said Jürgen Stock, noting that the Incident Respond Teams are aware and prepared for what they will find.

In January 2019, one of these teams was in Nairobi, after the deadly attack that hit a hotel complex in the Kenyan capital. In March of the same year, Interpol was sent to Ethiopia, after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after taking off.

Many citizens of Lebanon are angry with the nation’s government, accusing it of corruption and incompetence. The tragedy has exposed the Lebanese government’s unpopularity to the citizens, and their anger was laid bare on Thursday.

During French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the country, his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Aoun, was booed. A section of Lebanese citizens called upon President Macron to help them change the country’s government.

On the evening of 4 August 2020, at 18:08 EEST, multiple explosions occurred in the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The main explosion was linked to approximately 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons) of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated by the government from an abandoned ship and stored in the port without proper safety measures for the previous six years.

“Revolution, revolution!” the crowd chanted. “The people want the fall of the regime,” the protesters shouted. “Michel Aoun is a terrorist! Help us,” one man pleaded, referring to the Lebanese president.

One woman screamed inaudible words inches away from Macron’s face. “They are terrorists,” came the repeated cries.

According to the most recent data, the explosions in the port of Beirut destroyed entire neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital, leaving more than 300,000 people homeless. About a hundred people are missing, and 120 of the injured are in serious condition.

It has since been revealed that about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that were stored in the port of Beirut was the cause of the terrible explosions, which led to the declaration of the capital as a “disaster zone.” On Wednesday, a state of emergency in Beirut was declared for two weeks.

Besides the tragedy, Lebanon is currently experiencing a serious economic crisis, marked by an unprecedented devaluation of its currency, hyperinflation, and mass layoffs. These have been aggravated by the new coronavirus pandemic, which forced the authorities to confine the population for three months.

Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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