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28 Oct 2019 | 05:00 AM UTC

Lebanon: Further nationwide disruptions expected October 28 /update 16

Banks remain closed across the country October 28; further protests expected



The Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) has announced that all banks across the country will remain closed on Monday, October 28, for a ninth consecutive working day amid ongoing nationwide protests.

On Sunday, October 27, a Lebanese state prosecutor issued an order to temporarily ban traders and money exchangers from taking significant amounts of physical dollar currency out of the country at air and land borders, until the central bank determines a new mechanism for regulating such transfers.

Further protests are expected across the country on Monday, along with significant road closures and blockades.

Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Further clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.


On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products as part of its 2020 federal budget, as well as a 20 percent daily tax for individuals messaging 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. The packages call for a reduction in the salaries of government officials, a plan to privatize the telecommunications sector, and a proposed overhaul of the electricity sector. At least five people were killed, and several hundred protesters and security forces wounded in the protests.


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

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