'Lebanon's future is at stake': Macron

In Beirut's streets they were cleaning up on Sunday (Aug 9) after a night in which anger boiled over into violent protests.

Some are now calling for a sustained uprising against Lebanon's government whose negligence they blame for last week's devastating explosion.

Around 10,000 gathered on Saturday (Aug 8) night in Martyr's Square, which was transformed into a battleground: protesters hurling stones and firecrackers at riot police who fired dozens of tear gas canisters.

Some demonstrators stormed government ministries where they burned a picture of the president.

Abdallah, a protester from Tripoli, said he entered the government buildings because the politicians are "just sitting in their chairs' while the people of Lebanon are hurt.

Tuesday's (Aug 4) explosion killed 158 people and injured more than 6,000.

Entire neighborhoods were gutted leaving around 250,000 people homeless.

Rebuilding Beirut will likely run into the billions of dollars and on Sunday French President Emmanuel Macron hosted an emergency donors conference in which he urged world leaders to put aside their difference because Lebanon's future was at stake.

"Together we have to do everything we can so that violence and chaos do not win the day. Today those who have an interest in that division and chaos are the powers who would like to risk the Lebanese people, the peace and stability of Lebanon and the whole region."

Lebanon's debt-laden economy was already mired in crisis and reeling from the coronavirus pandemic before the port explosion.

But foreign powers are wary about writing blank checks to a government perceived by its own people to be deeply corrupt while some are concerned about the influence of Iran through the Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

Macron said the Lebanese government will have to put in place the political and economic reforms being demanded by protesters so that the international community can act "efficiently, side-by-side" with the government.

Video Transcript

- In Beirut streets they were cleaning up on Sunday after a night in which anger boiled over into violent protests. Some are now calling for a sustained uprising against Lebanon's government, whose negligence they blame for last week's devastating explosion. Around 10,000 gathered on Saturday night in Martyr's Square, which was transformed into a battleground. Protesters hurling stones and firecrackers at riot police, who fired dozens of tear gas canisters. Some demonstrators stormed government ministries where they burned a picture of the president.

- [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH]

- Abdallah, a protester from Tripoli, said he entered the government buildings because the politicians are "just sitting in their chairs" while the people of Lebanon are hurt.

Tuesday's explosion killed 158 people and injured more than 6,000. Entire neighborhoods were gutted, leaving around 250,000 people homeless. Rebuilding Beirut will likely run into the billions of dollars. And on Sunday French President Emmanuel Macron hosted an emergency donor's conference in which he urged world leaders to put aside their differences because Lebanon's future was at stake.

EMMANUEL MACRON: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: Together we have to do everything we can so that violence and chaos do not win the day. Today those who have an interest in that division and chaos are the powers who would like to risk the Lebanese people, the peace and stability of Lebanon, and the whole region.

- Lebanon's debt-laden economy was already mired in crisis and reeling from the coronavirus pandemic before the port explosion. But foreign powers are wary about writing blank checks to a government perceived by its own people to be deeply corrupt, while some are concerned about the influence of Iran through the Shi'ite group Hezbollah. Macron said the Lebanese government will have to put in place the political and economic reforms being demanded by protesters so that the international community can act "efficiently side-by-side" with the government.