Anti-governmental protests are likely to continue in Beirut and across the nation on Thursday, January 23, following a day of violent clashes in which 86 people were injured on Wednesday, January 22. Some of those clashes reported occurred in the vicinity of the Parliament building as protesters continued to show their opposition for the new Prime Minister Hassane Diab, appointed on Tuesday, January 21.
A heightened security presence is to be anticipated in Beirut and other major cities, particularly around any protest site. Further clashes between security forces and demonstrators cannot be ruled out.
Over 540 people were wounded during fighting between protesters and security forces across Lebanon on Saturday, January 18, and Sunday, January 19.
Mass protests originally broke out on October 17, 2019, after 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 protests forced the government to revoke the tax proposal and since then the demands evolved into calling for the resignation of the government. On October 29, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation, and on January 21, his successor former education minister Hassan Diab, was appointed.
Individuals in Lebanon, and in Beirut in particular, 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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