Beirut, Lebanon – Families of the Beirut Port blast victims are protesting against the suspension of the investigation into the devastating explosion, saying the probe is the “last opportunity for accountability” in Lebanon.
About 300 protesters gathered by the Palace of Justice in Beirut on Wednesday to condemn top political officials for attempting to remove lead investigator Judge Tarek Bitar from the probe after it was suspended on Monday.
Paul Naggear, who lost his three-year-old daughter Alexandra in the blast, was outraged that the investigation had been suspended. He likened Lebanese officials to criminals.
“Although expected from the mafia, it’s disgusting”, Naggear told Al Jazeera.
Protesters held up portraits of family members they lost in the blast.
Among them was 17-year-old Christelle Merhi, whose father Joseph worked at the Beirut Port and was killed in the explosion.
“If we don’t demand the truth then we won’t ever know what happened to the victims,” Merhi told Al Jazeera. “We support Judge Bitar and want him to continue leading the investigation.”