On 26 January 2021, violent protests occurred in cities throughout Lebanon over worsening economic conditions due to continued COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Hundreds of people demonstrated in the cities of Tripoli, Sidon and Beirut, the capital. In the northern city of Tripoli, protesters demonstrated in al-Nour Square after gathering outside the homes of city officials. The protesters threw Molotov cocktails, rocks and water bottles at security forces. Security officers used tear gas to disperse protesters from al-Nour Square and the surrounding area. Dozens of protesters also gathered at the Ring Bridge and briefly blocked Corniche el Mazraa Road in central Beirut before security forces dispersed the group. Protests also occurred in various neighborhoods throughout Beirut. Protesters held a vigil at Elia Square in the city of Sidon, located in southern Lebanon. Approximately 45 people were injured during the protests, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Analyst Comment: While the COVID-19 lockdown triggered the most recent protests, economic conditions in the country were already strained due to the after-effects of an August 2020 explosion at the Port of Beirut, as well as a preexisting period of long-term economic malaise. Organizations with assets and personnel in Lebanon should monitor the situation closely in anticipation of continued demonstrations.