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23 Dec 2019 | 04:16 AM UTC

Lebanon: Protests continue across the country December 23 /update 60

Road closures reported after day of protests in Beirut on December 23; protests likely to continue

security
transportation
LBN

Event

Road closures have been reported in the morning (local time) on Monday, December 23 in Beirut, Tripoli, and in the Bekaa area, as protests to denounce the nomination of Hassane Diab as Prime Minister continue across the country. Overnight on December 22-23, hundreds of protesters gathered around Martyrs' Square and in front of Beirut's parliament building. Additional protests and associated roadblocks are likely in other urban centers throughout the day.

Violent protests and clashes cannot be ruled out. A heightened security presence as well as transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near any demonstration site.

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. On December 19, President Michel Aoun designated former education minister Hassan Diab to serve as the next prime minister.

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.