Dozens of protesters, denouncing the Lebanese government's financial policies and banks preventing depositors from accessing accounts, reportedly jammed a major road in central Beirut and engaged in minor clashes with police before erecting sandbags and bricks on a street outside Banque du Liban on Monday night (local time), January 13. Demonstrators in Sidon also reportedly obstructed a major road in a similar protest.
Related protests are possible in Lebanon over the coming days and weeks. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
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, avoid demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation and business near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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