A small improvised device was detonated outside a Fransabank branch in Sidon on Saturday, April 25. The explosion of the device on Riyadh Al-Solh Street did not cause any casualties but damaged the glass façade and ceiling of the bank. Security forces were deployed to the scene and have opened an investigation to identify the perpetrators. It is indicated that the detonation of the device was linked to ongoing protests against recent policies by Lebanese banks that have seen a dramatic rise in the price of the US dollar against the Lebanese pound. Several protests over the issue have taken place across the country in the past week.
A heightened security presence is expected in the area over the near term.
Mass protests originally broke out in Lebanon on October 17, 2019, after the Lebanese government approved tax hikes on tobacco products and a daily tax on messages and calls done via the WhatsApp mobile phone messenger application. The protests forced the government to revoke the tax proposal and demands have since evolved into calls for the resignation of the government. On October 29, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation, and on January 21, 2020, former education minister Hassan Diab was appointed as his successor.
Individuals in Lebanon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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