A group of Lebanese protesters including retired army officers have stormed the Foreign Ministry building in the capital Beirut as part of protests following the massive explosion this week.
The protesters said Saturday the Foreign Ministry would be the headquarters for a “revolution” and called on the current government to resign.
Retired army officer Sami Ramah read a statement on the building's steps after dozens of protesters pushed their way into the building. “This authority must step down,” he said.
Protesters raised flags with the image of a fist that has come to symbolize nationwide anti-government protests.
Some of the nearly 200 protesters entered the building and burned a few documents and pictures of the Lebanese President. It was not clear what the documents were.
Rage against the government spiked after the Beirut port explosion Tuesday that killed nearly 160 people and injured 6,000 while leaving much of the coastline mangled.
Protesters gathered in central Beirut clashed with security forces.
Syria's state TV says 43 Syrian citizens were killed in this week's blast in Beirut.
The TV quotes the Syrian embassy in Lebanon as saying that the number is not final as search operations for dozens of missing are still ongoing.
Lebanon is home to more than a million Syrians many of them refugees who fled civil war in their country.
A Lebanese health ministry official said on Saturday that the blast killed 154 people, including 21 bodies who have not been identified. He added that 45 people are still missing.
The president of a Christian party in Lebanon says the group's three legislators in parliament will resign in protest against the government over this week's deadly blast.
Samy Gemayel made his comments on Saturday during the funeral of a senior official with the Kataeb Party who was killed in Tuesday's blast that destroyed Beirut's port and damaged the capital.
The Kataeb party is part of the opposition and is known for its harsh criticism of the government that is backed by the militant Hezbollah group and its allies.
Lebanon's parliament has 128-members and some legislators have said they will resign in protest over widespread corruption.
Legislator Marwan Hamadeh resigned earlier this week in protest after the blast occurred.
Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay says Ankara is ready to help Lebanon rebuild Beirut's port and send ambulance planes to evacuate some of the wounded for treatment in Turkish hospitals.
Oktay spoke on Saturday to reporters after meeting Lebanese President Michel Aoun. He added that a Turkish search team is working at the port that was destroyed in a massive explosion on Tuesday.
Oktay said Turkey has already sent two field hospitals, 400 tons of wheat and food products. He added that his government is ready to use the Turkish port of Mersin to receive products that can be later sent to Lebanon in smaller ships.
Oktay arrived earlier in the day with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The Dutch foreign ministry says that the wife of the Netherlands' ambassador to Lebanon has died of injuries she sustained in the massive blast that hit Beirut earlier this week.
Hedwig Waltmans-Molier died Saturday morning at age 55. She worked for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs alongside her husband, Jan Waltmans. The couple had two adult children.
The ministry says that Waltmans-Molier, who worked in the human resources department of the embassy, “was standing in the living room next to Jan and by sheer bad luck was hit by the explosion.” The family had recently returned to Beirut after a holiday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag expressed their condolences to the family and paid tribute to Waltmans-Molier in a joint statement.