News Alerts

27 Nov 2019 | 07:22 PM UTC

Lebanon: Petrol stations to launch indefinite strike November 28 /update 40

Lebanon News Alert

Union representing petrol stations calls for indefinite strike beginning November 28; heightened security presence and transportation disruptions likely to continue

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/27/2019, 12:00 AM until 12/2/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Beirut). COUNTRY/REGION Lebanon

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Event

A union representing petrol stations has called for an indefinite strike beginning Thursday, November 28, in response to financial losses sustained amid a deteriorating economic situation. Fuel stations in Lebanon rely on US dollars to import petrol. However, a reduction of US dollars in the economy has forced importers to resort to money exchange sources offering a higher exchange rate, sparking price hikes.  

Additionally, the Lebanese Economic Bodies group, a private sector entity, called off a separate three-day strike that was to be held between Thursday, November 28, and Saturday, November 30. The group cited economic concerns as the basis for its decision.

Additional protests are to be expected nationwide, though especially in Beirut, over the coming several days. Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in major urban centers during the general strike and as protests continue. Clashes between protesters and 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, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.

 

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