A group of protesters reportedly attacked Lebanese troops near Tripoli with stones and Molotov cocktails, wounding at least 14 soldiers on the night (local time) of Thursday, January 9, to demand the release of protesters who had been detained after blocking off Biddawi road earlier in the day. The original demonstration was to protest ongoing power outages.
Outside of the municipality building in Beirut on Friday, January 10, one person was reportedly injured when anti-government protesters demanding the resignation of the city's mayor and governor were attacked by men supporting the local officials. Police intervened to separate the two groups.
A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of all protests. Violent clashes between opposing protesters and protesters and police cannot be ruled out. Further protests are likely over the near term.
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 Lebanon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence and business and transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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