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IN PICTURES: One year since the Beirut blast

NOW’s Matt Kynaston documents the streets of Beirut as thousands of Lebanese marked one year since the devastating Beirut blast ripped through half of the city.


Friends embrace during the moment of silence at 6:07pm. The time that 2750 ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port ignited and exploded on August 4th 2020. The explosion killed more than 217 people, injuring 6,000 and displacing many more from their homes.Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW

Thousands of Lebanese took to the streets on Wednesday to mark a year since hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate recklessly stored in a Beirut port hangar exploded and killed 2018, wounded over 6,000 and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

The blast was deemed the country’s worst peacetime disaster at a time when its economy was already in tatters.

While thousands of people were commemorating the victims of the blast in the port, groups of protesters scuffled with riot police near the entrance to the Parliament. The clashes worsened towards the evening, when the security forces and the Lebanese army used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

The Lebanese Red Cross said the clashes left more than 50 injured.

Marches and demonstrations throughout Beirut began at approximately 3:30pm. Thousands took to the streets on August 4, a day that had been declared a national day of mourning. Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW
Demonstrations started throughout the city on August 4, and convened at the port. Where one group marched on the high-way, another led by the Beirut Fire Brigade marched below.Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW.
Protestors are marching against a political class that they believe were not only neglectful in failing to deal with the storage of ammonium nitrate at the port, but whose mismanagement has overseen the collapse of the economy. Half of Lebanon’s citizens now live below the poverty line.Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW
Friends embrace during the moment of silence at 6:07pm. The time that 2750 ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port ignited and exploded on August 4th 2020. The explosion killed more than 217 people, injuring 6,000 and displacing many more from their homes.Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW
After the minute of silence at the port, large swathes of protestors made their way to Martyr Square, the scene of multiple historic uprisings in Beirut. Protestors sang songs and chanted slogans that were prominent during the October 17 uprising.Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW
A protester is overwhelmed with teargas inhalation. His friend tries to help him up to move him further from the tear gas canisters. Reports from the Lebanese Red Cross stated that over 80 people were injured during the protests, with 71 treated at the scene, 13 had to be transported away by ambulance.Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW
Photographers and activists take cover behind a barrier erected on the Waygand Street in Beirut. Protesters who were prevented from approaching parliament by security forces hurled rocks and set off fireworks, they were met with teargas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets. Photo: Matt Kynaston, NOW.

Matt Kynaston is a multimedia journalist with @NOW_leb. He tweets @MattKynaston.