News Alerts

31 Oct 2019 | 05:06 AM UTC

Lebanon: Banks to reopen November 1 /update 19

Lebanon News Alert

Banks to resume normal operations as of November 1; protests and associated disruptions still expected in coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/31/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/2/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Beirut). COUNTRY/REGION Lebanon, Beirut

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Event

The Association of Banks in Lebanon said that normal bank operations will resume on Friday, November 1, after being closed for approximately two weeks due to ongoing opposition protests. Bank employees will resume work on Thursday, October 31, but services will not be available to citizens. Some universities have also said that they will resume classes as of Thursday.

Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Further 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 call for a reduction in the salaries of government officials, a plan to privatize the telecommunications sector, and a proposed overhaul of the electricity sector. Dozens of activists have been killed, and several hundred protesters and security forces wounded in the protests. On October 29, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation.

Advice

Individuals in Lebanon 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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