Groups frustrated with the ongoing economic and political crises have called for a protest on Monday, December 16, at former Prime Minister Saad Hriri's home in Beirut. The announcement comes after President Aoun delayed a parliamentary session to name the appointment of the next prime minister, which is widely expected to once again be Hariri. Participants are scheduled to gather as of 17:00 (local time) before Parliament and at Place des Martyrs. They will later march to Maison du Centre, Hariri's residence in the capital. A sit-in has also been scheduled at the Maison du Centre as of 18:30.
Additional protests and clashes remain possible in other parts of Beirut and other urban centers in the coming several days as administrators officiate the decision. Transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
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.
Individuals in Beirut, and in Lebanon more generally, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, anticipate transportation and business disruptions near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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