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31 Dec 2019 | 03:40 AM UTC

Lebanon: New Year gathering scheduled in Beirut December 31 /update 64

Anti-government protesters to gather for festivities and protest in Beirut on December 31; heightened security presence expected

security
transportation
LBN

Event

Anti-government protesters have scheduled another protest in Beirut on Tuesday, December 31. Participants are to gather in protest and ring in the new year at Place de Martyrs as of 17:00 (local time) and into the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 1. New Year festivities are also scheduled to take place throughout the evening.

A heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of the gathering. Protests are likely to continue in Beirut, Tripoli, and other urban centers nationwide over the coming days.

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