Anti-government protesters gathered in Tripoli on Sunday, May 3, in solidarity with a 26-year-old demonstrator who was reportedly killed by security forces during unrest on Tuesday, April 28. During Sunday's protests, demonstrators gathered mainly outside of the city's banks as the Lebanese Pound (LBP) has recently lost significant value; no violence was immediately reported. Recent protests have notably taken place despite the lockdown imposed by authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the country.
Related demonstrations are possible in Lebanon over the near term. An expected increased presence of security forces and disruptions to transportation and business around related protests are likely to be compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
Protests resumed in cities across the country on Sunday, April 26, with police and protesters clashing in Tripoli. Violent demonstrations were also reported in Sidon and several other cities on Wednesday, April 29. Banks have been the principal target, as they are seen as responsible for Lebanon's recent economic difficulties and the collapse of the Lebanese pound (LBP). Banks remain closed in Tripoli following an announcement by the Lebanese banking association declared on Monday, April 27.
Mass protests originally broke out in Lebanon on October 17, 2019, after the Lebanese 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 demands have since evolved into calls for the resignation of the government. On October 29, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation, and on January 21, 2020, former education minister Hassan Diab was appointed as his successor.
Individuals in Lebanon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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