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October 18, 2019

Thousands of Protesters Fill the Streets
of Lebanon as Government Announces
New Tax Measures


Thousands of people demonstrated across Lebanon on Thursday against the government’s new taxes. Protesters scuffled with security forces and blocked roads across the country with burning tires, barricades and garbage. 

Blockages on the main road connecting Beirut and the city's International Airport.
Source: Twitter Account @allushiii

The Lebanese government recently declared a state of "economic emergency" as Lebanon faces debt burdens, low growth, crumbling infrastructure and strains on its financial system from a slowdown in capital inflows. The announcement of a new revenue raising measure, proposing a charge of 20 cents per day for calls via voice over internet protocol (VoIP) used by applications such as WhatsApp and FaceTime, set off the riots. Later that day, the Prime Minister informed the population that the measure had been withdrawn. Participants however are still demonstrating against other measures including the tax increases on fuel and food.

According to incoming social media feeds, ongoing demonstrations are blocking access to the primary road to Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) this Friday, October 18th, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. Some travelers are able to get through by hitching a ride on motorcycles or in the army’s trucks.

Travelers being transported by the Lebanese Armed Forces to BEY Airport on Friday, October 18.
Source: The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International


Members in Lebanon are advised to avoid the vicinity of all political gatherings and demonstrations in order to minimize the risk of exposure to incidental violence, opportunistic crime and heavy-handed police responses. Monitor local media for the latest updates relating to the protests and any associated disruption.

If you are traveling in or out of Lebanon, check the status of your flight with your airline company and/or travel agency. If you are currently in Beirut, do not leave your hotel before confirming that access to the airport has been reopened and secured.

If you need further emergency travel assistance such as interpreter referral, medical referral or more, contact our Operations Center, available 24/7, via the Assist America Mobile App or by phone at the number indicated on your membership card.

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The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.

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