Hundreds of people protested in downtown Beirut on Sunday, February 17, denouncing the stated policy aims of the new Lebanese government led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The protest was organized and attended by members of several civil society organizations, including leftist groups such as the Lebanese Communist Party and the People's Movement. Similar potential protests are likely to draw large crowds and a heightened security presence and result in localized traffic disruptions.
The new government was formed on January 31 following months of disagreement over the composition of the cabinet after the May 2018 elections. The Lebanese parliament approved the new government with a vote of confidence on February 15. Prime Minister Saad Hariri has pledged that the government will take sweeping measures to rein in public expenditures and the country's large public debt.
Individuals in Beirut are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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