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13 Dec 2019 | 04:31 AM UTC

Lebanon: Several protesters arrested due to roadblocks in Beirut December 13 /update 47

Police arrest protesters for erecting roadblocks in Beirut on December 13; protests expected to continue



Media reports indicate that police have arrested several protesters in Beirut on Friday, December 13. The arrests follow clashes when protesters attempted to block and shut down the Jal el-Dib highway in the north of the capital. Protests are likely to continue on Friday in Beirut, as well as in other urban centers as the economic crisis looms and government seeks a replacement prime minister.

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.


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.


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.