Reports of roadblocks emerged in the morning (local time) on Tuesday, January 14, in Beirut and other areas amid rising tensions at banks and ongoing anti-government protests. The Cité Sportif was blocked by protesters, prompting traffic disruptions. Further, a sit-in was also reported at the Banque du Liban's office in the Hamra district of the capital. In nearby Jdeideh, the main roundabout was also blocked by protesters.
On Monday, January 13, disruptions were reported in front of several banks in Beirut as people sought to withdraw the weekly maximum amount set by authorities. In addition, rumors of decreasing gas supplies brought on long lines at gas stations. It is unclear if such shortages are of concern officially.
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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