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18 Dec 2019 | 08:42 AM UTC

Lebanon: Protest scheduled in Beirut on December 18 /update 56

Protests to continue in Beirut on December 18; heightened security measures to be expected

security
transportation
LBN

Event

A protest has been scheduled in Beirut for Thursday, December 18, the day before Parliament announces who it will nominate as prime minister. The protest aims to demand the appointment of a prime minister independent of the perceived corrupt political class. Participants will gather at Place de l'Etoile as of 18:00 (local time).

A heightened security presence, transportation, and business disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of the protest.

Context

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. Former finance minister, Mohammad Safadi, who was expected to be appointed as Hariri's successor, declined on November 17, stating the difficulties to form a legitimate cabinet. On December 16, President Aoun delayed a parliamentary session to name the appointment of the next prime minister, which is widely expected to once again be Hariri.

Advice

Individuals in Beirut, and in Lebanon more generally, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, anticipate transportation and business disruptions near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.