News Alerts

24 Oct 2019 | 09:57 AM UTC

Lebanon: Nationwide protests expected October 24 /update 12

Lebanon News Alert

Protests set to continue nationwide on October 24; business and transportation disruptions reported

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/23/2019, 12:00 AM until 10/25/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Beirut). COUNTRY/REGION Lebanon, Beirut

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Event

As of the morning (local time) on Thursday, October 24, several roads remain blocked amid ongoing protests against tax increases and perceived government corruption across the country.

This includes Beirut's express ring road, Place Sassine, the Saifi area, the Verdun area as well as in Corniche Mazraa, Ras el-Nabeh, the Cola roundabout, and the Élias Hraoui highway. Roadblocks were also reported on the coastal highway in Khalde, Naameh, Barja, and Jiyeh.

In the Bekaa, roads are blocked around Sofar, Aley, Abadiyeh, Kfarhim, Dahr el-Baïdar, Saadnayel, Jdita, and Kab Élias. Roadblocks were also reported in Beiteddine.

In Metn, the highway in Dbayeh is blocked, as well roads in Mansourieh, Mkallès, Jal el-Dib.

In the Kesrouan District, roads in Bouar, Okaybeh, Zouk Mikayel, Safra, and Ghazir are blocked. Roadblocks were reported in the northern regions of Lebanon, including in Tripoli, Jbeil, Batroun, Beddaoui, and Miniyeh. The same applies for Saida, Habbouche, and Kfar Remmane in the south.

The Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) has announced that all banks across the country will remain closed on Thursday, until the situation stabilizes amid ongoing protests against tax increases and perceived government corruption.

President Michel Aoun is expected to address protesters in a speech at 13:30 (local time), which is likely to cause further protests in Beirut and other major urban centers over the coming hours.

Heightened security measures and transportation and business disruptions are to be expected in major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out. 

Context

On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products as part of its 2020 federal budget, as well as a 20 percent daily tax for individuals messaging via the WhatsApp mobile phone messenger application. The announcement sparked mass protests across the country on October 17, forcing the government to revoke the tax proposal. Since then, protests have evolved calling for the resignation of the government, and have continued despite an emergency reform package announced by Prime Minister Saad Hariri on October 21. The packages calls for a reduction in the salaries of government officials, a plan to privatize the telecommunications sector, and a proposed overhaul of the electricity sector. At least five people were killed, and several hundred protesters and security forces injured in the protests.

Advice

Individuals in Lebanon, and particularly in Beirut, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate transportation and business disruptions, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.

 

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