As of the morning (local time) on Monday, November 4, several roads remain blocked amid ongoing nationwide protests against tax increases and perceived government corruption.
This includes Beirut's express ring road, Place Sassine, the Saifi area, the Verdun area, as well as the Murr roundabout, the Ain Mreisseh area, and the Chevrolet roundabout. Roadblocks were also reported on the coastal highway in Khalde, Naameh, Barja, and Jiyeh.
In the Bekaa, roads are blocked around Sofar, Zahleh, Saadnayel, Jdita, and Kab Elias. Roadblocks were also reported in Marj, Jeb Jennine, Sowayreh, Rachaya, Ghazeh, Hoch Harimeh, Masnaa, and the Damas road. In Metn, roads in Mazraat Yahouch, Jal el-Dib, and Hemlaya are blocked.
In the Kesrouan District, the coastal highway is blocked near Nahr el-Kalb. Roads in Christ Le Roi, Zouk Mikayel, and Ghazir are also blocked. Roadblocks were reported in the northern regions of Lebanon, including in Tripoli, Chekka, Bahsas, Batroun, and Zghorta. The same applies for Saida in the south.
Although banks reopened across the country on Friday, November 1, customers have reportedly faced new restrictions on withdrawals of U.S. dollars and transfers abroad. Schools remain shut for a third week.
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.
On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products as part of its 2020 federal budget, as well as a daily 20 percent for messages and calls done 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.
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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