The Lebanese parliament approved a state of emergency in Beirut during its first meeting after the August 4 blast, giving the military broad powers, AP reported.
The government resigned after an explosion that killed over 170 people, injured at least 6,000 people, destroyed the port and caused extensive damage to the capital. The disaster sparked public outrage towards Lebanese leaders.
Before retiring, the government declared a state of emergency that gave the military the power to impose curfews, prevent public gatherings and censor the media, and send civilians to military tribunals for alleged security violations. The measure required legislators' approval, which they granted on Thursday.
The meeting opened with a minute of silence in memory of those killed in the blast. Parliament then proceeded to discuss the resignation of nearly a dozen lawmakers last week to protest the government's actions over the blast. A large Christian bloc boycotts the session.
It is not clear whether parliament extended the government's decision on the state of emergency by 15 days or simply put it into effect on Thursday, lawyer Nizar Saghieh said.
“There is incredible chaos,” Nizar Saghieh added. He said the state of emergency’s only justification is to extend the power of the state and security agencies and “control the opposition.”
“We were waiting for the army to help in reconstruction, not be an extension of power,” he said.