New government announced
- After a meeting bringing together the President, Speaker of the House, and the Prime Minister—designate, a new government was announced at Baabda Palace. Most of the ministers were backed by the March 8 Alliance.
- The government consists of six women, including Defense Minister Zina Akkar, who is also Deputy Prime Minister. However, the government did not abolish the state ministries, as was previously promised by Diab, and one minister was appointed for both the Ministries of Agriculture and Culture.
- The formation of the government ignited the streets and protesters blocked roads in different regions and squares to denounce the formation of the new government.
On day 97, protest at the justice Palace and roadblock in Halba
- Several demonstrators staged a protest outside the Justice Palace in Beirut under the slogan “Let the justice system be just.” They demanded the end of political interference in the justice system and the application of the independence judiciary law, 154/99.
- A group of Halba protesters made a statement justifying their blocking of the roads and denouncing the arbitrary banking procedures in their region and the detention of Jihad Abro. Abro was arrested during clashes at a bank. Protesters also promised to escalate in case their demands were not met. Abro was released later in the evening.
Parliamentary budget session postponed
- Speaker of the House Nabih Berri postponed the parliamentary session set to discuss the 2020 budget from 21—22 to 28—29 January. This postponement comes after Berri considered that failure to form a government had hindered the budget session.
Agreement made between authorized exchange shops and the Central Bank of Lebanon
- The Money Exchange Association announced that it had agreed with the Central Bank Governor to set a ceiling for the purchase of dollars at the authorized money changers. This agreement translates into 2000 Lebanese pounds for one dollar.
- This decision is effective from Wednesday 22 January, provided that fines are imposed on those who do not abide by it.
“Foreigners” released from custody
- According to the Lawyers’ Committee for the Defense of Protesters, state authorities released the remaining Syrians Who were arrested on 14 and 15 January. Some of those arrested are sons of Lebanese mothers unable to pass down their nationalities, and others are years—long residents in Lebanon unable to renew their residency.
- American journalist Nicholas Frakes was also released. He was arrested Monday and accused of covering the events in Lebanon for Israeli daily Haaretz.
A new victim of the kafala system
- Horrific pictures of a migrant domestic worker, said to have thrown herself out from a building in Salim Salam in Beirut, circulated on social media early Tuesday morning. Sources at the ISF reported that the migrant worker committed suicide at approximately 4 am.
- Details of the incident remain unclear. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor has called for an investigation into the matter, considering including the family in the ministry’s “ban list” and preventing them from hiring domestic workers in the future.
- Lebanon continues to adopt a sponsorship system for migrant workers that deprives them of their most basic rights and exposes them to various types of violations by their employers.
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