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06 Dec 2019 | 05:36 AM UTC

Lebanon: Additional protests reported in Beirut December 6 /update 44

Nationwide protest movement continues with protest in Beirut December 6; protests likely to continue

security
transportation
LBN

Event

Protesters in Beirut gathered on Thursday, December 6, to hold a rally and mock funeral for a protester that killed himself due to pressures of the ongoing economic crisis.

The government is now attempting to identify a prime minister and after that form a government, following former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation due to pressure from protests. President Michel Aoun stated that the new government's priorities would include establishing key reforms for a variety of sectors.

Additional protests are to be expected nationwide, and especially in Beirut, over the coming days. Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in major urban centers as protests continue. Clashes between protesters and between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products as part of its 2020 federal budget, as well as 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 then, 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.

Advice

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