“Lebanese officials have clearly shown a total inability to secure and run the country,” the petition reads. “With a broken system, corruption, terrorism and militias, the country has just reached its last breath. “
“We believe that Lebanon should come back under French mandate in order to establish a clean and sustainable governance”.
Read more: Deadly explosion in Beirut: what we know so far
‘The Lebanese are desperate’
Dima Tarhini, of DW’s Arab Department, said the petition circulated widely on Lebanese social media.
“This is how desperate some Lebanese are,” she said. “So much has been lost where there was already so little. They have lost their homes, they have lost their property, they cannot save their children. They don’t know what to do. “
France controlled the Middle Eastern country from 1920 to 1945 under a mandate put in place after World War I.
Macron visits Beirut
The petition was directed against French President Emmanuel Macron, who on Thursday became the first foreign leader to arrive in Beirut since tragedy struck.
Macron warned that Lebanon would “continue to sink” without reforms upon his arrival in Beirut. He pledged France would help mobilize aid for the city, which has suffered billions of dollars in damage and destruction.
Macron told angry crowds in downtown Beirut that he would seek a new deal with political authorities.
“I guarantee it – the aid will not go into corrupt hands,” Macron told protesters.
“I will speak to all political forces to ask them for a new pact. I am here today to offer them a new political pact, ”he said.
Read more: Deadly explosion in Beirut: what makes ammonium nitrate so dangerous?
Crowds protesting on the streets of Beirut called on Macron to help oust the country’s rulers. The shock quickly turned to anger in the city, with many commentators and protesters claiming corruption and incompetence within the political classes were responsible for the deadly explosion.
French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the explosion. At least 21 French citizens were injured and one killed in the explosion.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Lebanon was rocked by protests with people angry with the government and the economy. A recent devaluation of the currency saw many Lebanese lose thousands of dollars in savings.
This story has been updated to reflect the number of petition signatories on August 7.
ed / aw (AFP, Reuters)