Independence Day celebrations will take place across Lebanon on Wednesday, November 22. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to return to the country in time for the celebrations for the first time since he announced his resignation in a televised speech from Riyadh on November 4. Hariri served as head of a coalition government in Lebanon from 2009-2011 and since 2016, and his resignation served as shock to his own advisors, government officials - including Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who refuses to accept Hariri's resignation until he speaks with him in person - and Lebanese citizens. Protests and public demonstrations are possible during this time, especially in the capital Beirut, and an increased security presence is to be expected.
Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation while on a visit to Saudi Arabia. The circumstances surrounding the resignation were unclear; however, conflicting reports said the move was due to Saudi pressure and alleged assassination plots. In addition, Saudi Arabia threatened to consider Lebanon a hostile state for as long as Iran-linked militia Hezbollah remains in power. Both Saudi Arabia and Hariri have denied any Saudi involvement in his decision to resign. Hariri is currently in Paris, where he met with the French president, and is expected to travel to Egypt on Tuesday.
Travelers should anticipate an increased security presence as well as localized transportation disruptions in the area of any public gathering.
More generally, due to the threat of terrorism, some Western governments advise their nationals against travel to the city of Tripoli, Beirut's southern districts, the extreme south, and the country's eastern and northern border regions (including Baalbek, Hermel, Majdel, and Rachaiya).
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