Lebanon: Civil Unrest Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) - DREF n° MDRLB008

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Thousands of protesters filled the streets of major cities across Lebanon as part of nationwide demonstrations over deteriorating economic conditions and new austerity measures. The demonstrations began on October 17, Thursday evening, and continued till date. Schools, universities, banks, public and private institutions, and offices have been closed as ongoing protests paralysed movement by blocking major roads across the country. The call to protest came through various social media platforms as the government discussed hiking taxes and introducing new fees, including a 0.20 levy per day for WhatsApp calls. Protesters quickly responded to the requests as activists called for gatherings at Beirut Downtown and other major cities.

The protests began peaceful then shortly deteriorated on Monday October 21, following to the announcement of the Prime Minister on a package of reforms to tackle the crisis. The announcement did not meet the protesters’ demands causing a spike in mass protests and nation-wide strike. Army troops and security forces deployed across the country and protesters clashed with the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) while trying to reach to the Council of Ministers. ISF used tear gas and rubber bullets to push back demonstrators away from the area.
This resulted in many injuries among all parties involved.

On October 29, the clashes escalated, leading to a scale up in security measures taken by the ISF and LAF. Shortly, the Prime Minister announced his resignation which eased the tensions for a while, but then scaled up again later in the evening, leading further intense clashes.