News Alerts

05 Nov 2019 | 11:31 AM UTC

Lebanon: Roadblocks reported amid nationwide protests November 5 /update 23

Lebanon News Alert

Several roads reportedly blocked as of November 5 amid nationwide protests; heightened security presence and associated disruptions expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/5/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/9/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Beirut). COUNTRY/REGION Beirut

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Event

Several major roads remain blocked by protesters as of Tuesday, November 5, amid nationwide protests against tax increases and perceived government corruption. The main highway from Beirut to northern Lebanon is blocked near Beddaoui, Chekka, and Jbeil. In Tripoli, all roads leading to Place al-Nour are blocked. The road from Sofar to Aley was also blocked. In the Bekaa valley, all roads located near the Zahleh roundabout remain blocked, as well as in Kab Elias, Jdeita, Saadnayel, Taalabaya, Soueiri, Ghazzeh, Masnaa, Rachaya, and Jeb Jennine.

In the Chouf district, roadblocks were reported in Baakline, Beiteddine, Maasser Beiteddine, Kfar Nabrakh, and Kfarhim. All schools and public administrations in the area are closed as of Tuesday.

Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted on the morning (local time) of Tuesday, as the army forcibly opened the highway leading to northern Lebanon, notably in Zouk Mosbeh and Jal al-Dib, to traffic. Several protesters were arrested, and the protesters' tents were removed from the highway. A heightened security presence has been reported in these areas. In Saida, the army has cleared the Place Elia from protesters and installations. 

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 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.

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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