Diab, who was appointed prime minister in January after months of deadlock, said his government had “gone to great lengths to lay out a road map to save the country”.
But corruption in Lebanon was “bigger than the state” itself, and “a very thick and thorny wall separates us from change; a wall fortified by a class that is resorting to all dirty methods in order to resist and preserve its gains”, he said.
“They knew that we pose a threat to them, and that the success of this government means a real change in this long-ruling class whose corruption has asphyxiated the country,” he added.
“Today we follow the will of the people in their demand to hold accountable those responsible for the disaster that has been in hiding for seven years, and their desire for real change,” Diab said.
The massive blast was caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years.
The death toll from last week’s explosion has risen to 220 with 110 people still missing, Beirut city governor Marwan Abboud was quoted by the al-Marsad Online news website as saying.
Many foreign workers and lorry drivers were among the missing, he told Al Jadeed TV channel.
The huge blast damaged buildings in a radius of several kilometres in Beirut, leaving more than 200,000 people homeless or living in homes with no windows or doors.
Many people have accused the country’s leaders of culpability through their alleged negligence and corruption.
Parliament will now have to decide on a new prime minister – a process involving the same sectarian politics at the root of protesters’ discontent.
It is unlikely to be a smooth or quick process due to the country’s complex political system. Power in Lebanon is shared between leaders representing the country’s different religious groups.
President Michel Aoun has asked the government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is formed.
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