Lebanon president accepts gov't resignation after Beirut blast

Michel Aoun asks PM Diab's gov't to stay in caretaker capacity as fury over explosion that devastated Beirut grows.

Lebanon president accepts gov't resignation after Beirut blast
In this photo released by Lebanon’s official government photographer Dalati Nohra, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, left, receives a letter of resignation from Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020.

Lebanon's government has stepped down as Prime Minister Hassan Diab blamed endemic corruption for a devastating explosion last week that tore through the capital.

President Michel Aoun accepted Diab's resignation on Monday and asked the government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet was formed.

Tensions have been boiling over in the country following the massive explosion at Beirut's port that killed some 200 people and wounded 6,000 others, according to the latest tally. 

"This crime" was a result of corruption that is "bigger than the state", Diab said in a televised statement, adding that he was taking "a step back" so he could stand with the people "and fight the battle for change alongside them".

"I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon," Diab said, repeating the last phrase three times.

The developments follow a weekend of angry, violent anti-establishment protests in which 728 people were wounded and one police officer killed amid a heavy crackdown by security forces.