DUBAI: On Saturday, thousands took to the streets of Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square in anger to protest against Lebanon’s leaders following the devastating, mushroom-shaped explosion on Aug. 4 that killed over 150, wounded thousands, and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
Among the protesters was Lebanese fashion blogger and Dior Beauty ambassador Nathalie Fanj, who documented the demonstrations, which took place not far from the blast site, on her Instagram Stories.
Fanj, who earlier this week wrote she was “devastated” and “scared for her kids” following the deadly blast, posted clips of protesters holding up the Lebanese flag and carrying signs demanding an international investigation against the government that seemingly allowed a stockpile of explosive material to sit unattended at their port for more than six years, only to explode on Tuesday with such power that it was felt more than 120 miles away in Cyprus.
Fanj also reported to her 855,000 Instagram followers that the authorities were allegedly firing at the protesters.
“We were not armed, protesting peacefully and they shot at us and it wasn’t rubber bullets!” she alleged in her Stories. “They were firing at us! As if we’re the corrupt ones stealing and killing!”
Among the protesters demanding justice for the lives lost due to government negligence was model and actress Nour Arida. The model also shared pictures and clips from the demonstrations on her Instagram Stories.
“Today we were in the streets to get back this little angel’s rights,” wrote Arida on Instagram alongside a series of images of the protests and a photo of Alexandra, the 3-year-old girl, who passed away during the blast.
Dubai-based fashion influencer Karen Wazen reposted one of Arida’s images of the demonstrators in Beirut and captioned it: “Every expat is there today in spirit. We want our Lebanon back.”
Lebanese fine jewelry designer, Ralph Masri, whose pieces are beloved by Celine Dion, also shared footage of protesters gathered in Martyrs’ Square on his social media platform. The designer, whose atelier was destroyed during the blast, wrote there was “no going back.”
A number of public figures are showing solidarity for the Lebanese people. Amal and George Clooney recently donated $100,000 to Lebanese charities, while British hitmaker Dua Lipa urged her 50.1 million Instagram followers to help by donating blood.