News Alerts

21 Nov 2019 | 10:12 AM UTC

Lebanon: Nationwide student protests November 21 /update 35

Lebanon News Alert

Students gather in several cities including Beirut as of November 21; heightened security and associated disruptions expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/21/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/23/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Beirut). COUNTRY/REGION Lebanon

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Event

Students have gathered in several cities across the country as of Thursday, November 21, to demand a reform of the education system. In Beirut, a sit-in was reported outside the Ministry of Education. In Halba, students have staged a protest outside the technical institute. In Tripoli, several protests were reported outside public institutions, including schools. Roads leading to Al-Nour Place remain closed. In Saida, students have gathered outside the Lebanese International University (LIU) to demand the institution's closure amid nationwide protests.

Further protests are expected nationwide on Friday, November 22, to mark the country's 76th anniversary of independence.

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.

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 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.

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 near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.

 

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