Families of Beirut port blast victims enter the Justice Palace in Beirut to protest the Higher Judicial Council's decision to appoint an alternate judge in the Beirut blast probe
Tensions rose during a sit-in on Friday morning at the Ministry of Justice in Beirut, where relatives of the victims of the August 4, 2020 deadly explosion protested against the decision of the Higher Judicial Council to appoint an alternate investigative judge in the investigation of this Beirut blast, which had been entrusted to investigative judge Tarek Bitar. During this protest, families of the victims stormed into the premises of the ministry, from which they were violently expelled by riot police. In images from the local channel al-Jadeed, people can be seen crowding the stairs of the ministry and members of the security forces trying to prevent their advance. "Shame on you," and "Where is the minister?" can be heard amidst the shouting.
The state-run National News Agency reported that the relatives of victims were unable to reach the office of the outgoing Minister of Justice, Henri Khoury, located on the fifth floor, although Khoury was reportedly not present. After a physical fight with the riot police, the families were expelled from the building.