Lebanese security forces clashed with anti-austerity protesters in front of the Government House in Beirut on Monday, May 20. Some demonstrators reportedly burned tires and pushed against police barriers; for their part, security forces fired water cannons to disperse the protesters. Over 100 demonstrators were reportedly in attendance.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in the area over the coming hours. Similar protests cannot be ruled out over the coming days.
The Lebanese economy is saddled with slow growth rates, high unemployment rates, and increasingly high public debt. Budget cuts included in the government's draft budget seek to win large sums of foreign assistance, while critics of the budget plan decry potential resulting cuts to social services, benefits, and public wages.
Individuals in Beirut are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations and protests as a precaution, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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