Several protests are taking place in Beirut as of the afternoon (local time) on Monday, January 6. A group of protesters have gathered in front of the Central Bank and are expected to march towards the Ministry of Finance, while a student protest is taking place in front of the Ministry of Justice; student protesters are expected to march towards the Rial el-Solh square. Another protest is reportedly scheduled to take place at 18:30 in Nour Square.
A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are expected near any demonstration sites. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.
On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products and 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, 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. On December 19, President Michel Aoun designated former education minister Hassan Diab to serve as the next prime minister.
Individuals in Beirut are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate transportation and business disruptions near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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