On Friday, July 17, hundreds of American University of Beirut (AUB) employees took to the streets in protest against job cuts at the university. Protests took place near the university's main campus and the AUB Medical Center (AUBMC), with demonstrators attempting to block access to the hospital. A strong military and police presence was reported at protest sites.
Further protests and a heightened security presence are to be expected in Beirut in the near to medium-term. Disruptions to health services may occur should protests continue outside the AUBMC.
University president Fadlo Khuri has announced that the American University of Beirut (AUB) would be forced to dismiss 25-percent of its 6500 staff. This comes following the university's worst economic crisis since its founding, brought about by the recent collapse of the Lebanese economy. The AUB is seen by some in Lebanon as a symbol of Lebanese resilience and stability, having survived regional conflicts, economic crises, and civil war during its 154-year history. Further job cuts are likely to bring about renewed protests against the government's handling of the country's economic crisis.
Those in Lebanon are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Individuals in Beirut are advised to confirm doctor's appointments and anticipate longer waiting times in medical facilities for the duration of the protests.
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