Security forces clashed with protesters in various cities during nationwide protests on Tuesday, January 14. Dozens of people gathered outside of the central bank in the capital Beirut on Tuesday night (local time), throwing stones and fireworks at police officers until tear gas was deployed to disperse the crowd. Demonstrators blocked roads in the capital and other cities with debris, and set garbage dumpsters on fire. According to media reports, some protesters vandalized ATMs and bank storefronts. Similar protests took place in Jal el-Dib, Tripoli, Sidon, Zahle, and Akkar province.
Further protests are possible in Lebanon over the coming days and weeks. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
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.
Individuals in Lebanon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation and business near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.