Anti-government protesters sparked a blaze, vandalised stores and lobbed stones at security forces, according to the state-run National News Agency.
Lebanese security forces have fired tear gas to disperse dozens of anti-government demonstrators angered by a cataclysmic blast widely seen as the most shocking expression yet of their government's incompetence.
The scuffles in central Beirut took place on late Thursday in a ravaged street leading to parliament, the wreckage from Tuesday's explosion still littering the entire area.
At least 149 people were killed and more than 5,000 others were injured in the blast that destroyed entire districts of the capital.
Protesters had sparked a blaze, vandalised stores and lobbed stones at security forces, according to the state-run National News Agency.
Police responded with tear gas to disperse the small, but clearly furious crowd, wounding some demonstrators, NNA said.
Security forces throw tear gas at protesters outside #Lebanon parliament— Aya Majzoub (@Aya_Majzoub) August 6, 2020
What are they protecting? A hollow, destroyed building that used to be inhabited by politicians that have lost all credibility? You may not want to rebuild but at least let us do it
Another grievance amid economic crisis
Many Lebanese were boiling with anger over a blast they see as the most shocking expression yet of their leadership's incompetence.
Lebanese authorities said it was triggered by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate negligently stored in a warehouse at Beirut's port since 2013.
This raised questions as to how such a huge cargo of the highly explosive substance could have been left unsecured for so long.
The explosion came as Lebanon was already knee-deep in its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
It added to the grievances of a protest movement that emerged in October to demand the removal of a political class deemed inept and corrupt.
READ MORE: Lebanon slips deeper into turmoil, no sign of new government
Activists have called for a large anti-government demonstration on Saturday – an event they have titled "hang them by the gallows."
Thursday's scuffles erupted as Lebanon's ambassador to Jordan resigned, saying 'total negligence' by the country's authorities signalled the need for a leadership change.
It is the second such resignation over Tuesday's blast, after lawmaker Marwan Hamadeh also stepped down on Wednesday.
READ MORE: Who is responsible for the Beirut disaster?
The country's ruling class, long accused of ineptitude and corruption, have been the target of a protest movement that began in October demanding systemic change.
The small Mediterranean nation has since been gripped by its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 war, further fuelling anti-government sentiments.
Calls for reform
Earlier, visiting French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to lead international emergency relief efforts and organise an aid conference in the coming days.
Blaming the country's leadership for the deadly explosion, protesters shouted “Revolution!” as they crowded around the visiting leader who promised to press the politicians for reform.
The French president also warned that the country – already in desperate need of a multi-billion-dollar bailout and hit by political turmoil since October – would "continue to sink" unless it implements urgent reforms
Speaking of Lebanon's political leaders, he said "their responsibility is huge – that of a revamped pact with the Lebanese people in the coming weeks, that of deep change".
The International Monetary Fund, whose talks with Lebanon started in May but have since stalled, warned that it was "essential to overcome the impasse in the discussions on critical reforms".
The IMF urged Lebanon – which is seeking more than $20 billion in external funding and now faces billions more in disaster costs – "to put in place a meaningful programme to turn around the economy" following Tuesday's disaster.
READ MORE: Why the central bank and the government are at war in Lebanon