As of the morning (local time) on Monday, November 18, several roads remain blocked across the country, notably in Tripoli and the Bekaa region, amid ongoing nationwide protests against tax increases and perceived government corruption. Protest actions are also likely to take place in Beirut over the coming hours.
Furthermore, banks remain closed as of Monday, as bank workers have stated they would remain on strike due to safety fears.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses 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.
On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products as part of its 2020 federal budget, as well as a daily tax on 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. On October 29, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation. Former finance minister, Mohammad Safadi, who was expected to be appointed as Hariri's successor declined on November 17, stating the difficulties to form a legitimate cabinet in this context.
Individuals in Lebanon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate transportation and business disruptions near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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