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Montrealers look for justice following explosion in Beirut

Last Updated Aug 7, 2020 at 7:24 pm EDT

MONTREAL (CityNews) – It was a grizzly scene from Beirut earlier this week, after a mass explosion in Lebanon’s capital.

Montreal’s Lebanese community took to protesting outside the consulate, demanding justice and accountability from the Lebanese government.

“There are no words. At first when I heard of this explosion, I was sad but now I am angry,” said a protester.

“There’s over 100 people who passed away, there’s over 400 injuries, there’s over 300,000 people lost their homes,” explained Sammy Abou Mansour, United Diaspora in Montreal. “That’s many people and having that many explosives stored for six years in the port right next to the city is a crime in itself.

“Beirut is the city in Lebanon with the highest density, this is a crime and those responsible for it must be held accountable.

WATCH: Large blast in Beirut shakes Lebanon’s capital

“Today we demand the departure of all Lebanese sectarian leaders that have robbed us everything from 1991 ’til today,” said a protester over a megaphone during the rally.

“We arrived at a point of no return with this government. Today we are all here to stay stop to this government and have a non-religious communitary (sic) government,” said Elias Atallah.

Like the protest in Montreal, many in Lebanon have taken to the streets denouncing government corruption and the country’s economic meltdown.

“Here in Lebanon itself and Beirut, people are just furious, we’ve had to endure a lot over the last 30 years, especially the last year itself alone has been one thing after the other from the fires to the collapse of the Lebanese Lira,” said Samer Beyhum, a Lebanese filmmaker.

Beyhum is a former Montrealer, and lives four kilometres from the site of the blast that left much of the Beirut in ruins.

“The governments pretty much absent in the streets. Its the youth and families coming out, cleaning the streets of the rubble.”

Both the Canadian and Quebec governments have opted to pledge aid to international agencies like the Red Cross instead of contributing directly to the Lebanese government for recovery efforts.

WATCH MORE: Deadly explosion adds to Lebanon’s suffering

Samer says the political elite are the main problem and protests are expected to continue in Beirut on Saturday.

“If this explosion doesn’t cause the change we need in this country then I don’t know what will,” added Samer.

“Our revolution never stopped, it’s only getting started and it will only stop when all of them leave and we have people who represent us in power, who represents the demands of the people of Lebanon and who represent the people of Lebanon,” said Abou Mansour.