Pivotal events of 2020

DECEMBER 19
Parliamentary consultations take place. Mr. Hassan Diab is nominated to form a government, backed by the Amal movement, Hezbollah, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Marada and others.

DECEMBER 20-31
Heavy protests take place, protesting the nomination of Hassan Diab as Prime Minister.

JANUARY 14
Lebanese Protests resume after weeks of calm. Banks are heavily targeted as the focus of popular anger centers around the Lebanese banking sector. Roads are closed by protestors all around Lebanon.

JANUARY 16
Contrary to cabinet leaks circulating in the news, the formation of the government does not take place, without any explanation.

JANUARY 18
Clashes occur between protestors and the police, resulting in 400 wounded and 34 arrested. Protestors were dispersed by the police, the latter using teargas, water cannons, batons and rubber bullets, in violation of international conventions.

JANUARY 21
A new cabinet is formed. The government, essentially backed by the March 8 coalition and its allies, is heavily rejected and protestors go to the streets in a clear sign of rejection.

JANUARY 22
Clashes occur between the police and protestors outside the Lebanese parliament.

JANUARY 25
Crowds gather around Beirut to celebrate the 100th day of the Thawra, protestors demand for a complete overhaul of the Lebanese political system.

FEBRUARY 1
Protesters gather outside the US Embassy in rejection of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan.

FEBRUARY 5
Protests ongoing in refusal to recognize the new government.

FEBRUARY 6
In light of the financial crisis, the new government presents its plan to fight tax evasion and publishes a detailed policy paper in this regard.

FEBRUARY 11
Protests occur in light of the new government’s confidence vote. Protests become violent in front of parliament due to the police’s heavy use of batons, teargas and rubber bullets.

FEBRUARY 21
The 1st case of COVID-19 is confirmed in Beirut.

FEBRUARY 28
Lebanon bars all travel by non-residents by air, sea or land from countries worst hit by COVID-19. The Public Works Ministry named China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy as affected countries.

MARCH 8
Lebanon announces default on $1.2 billion Eurobond payment.

MARCH 10
The first COVID-19 related death is recorded.

APRIL 21
Ten people are killed in a shooting in the village of Baakline.

APRIL 22
Mazen Harfoush, the gunman in the Baakline shooting, is apprehended and confesses to his crimes.

MAY 31
Lebanon reaches 1,220 cases of Covid-19 infections

JULY 27
Exchange of fire between Israeli soldiers and four Hezbollah members, no escalation occurs.

AUGUST 4
An explosion in the port of Beirut kills 203 people, wounds thousands and results in 300,000 people losing their home

AUGUST 5
The government declares a two-week state of emergency following the explosions, effectively allowing the military a free hand in tackling the security situation.

AUGUST 6
French president Emmanuel Macron arrives in Beirut and visits the scene of the explosion and tours the damaged quarters in Beirut. He engages in discussions with residents of Beirut and calls for government reforms and anti-corruption measures. Macron declares that he would help gather international aid through an international summit with the European Union, Arabic countries and the USA, with such aid being conditional on the government implementing reforms. Protests break out as a popular anger is at an all-time high due to the blast. 16 port employees, accused of being connected to the explosion, are arrested according to the military court spokesman.

AUGUST 7
Lebanese officials declare that the victims of the explosion are numbered to 157 deaths and 5,000 wounded. The European Union releases emergency funds for aid amounting to $38 million. According to Boris Prokoshev, former captain of the ship that brought 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate to Beirut, Lebanese authorities were “very well” aware of the risks of stocking the said amount in the Beirut port.

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB An injured man is transported on a stretcher following an explosion in Beirut’s port area, Lebanon August 4, 2020. Picture taken August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir – RC2K8I9K1KYA

AUGUST 8
Protests occur all over Lebanon, with over 700 reportedly wounded and one policeman killed. Protestors storm through various official buildings, including the foreign ministry, as the crowds of protestors face police violence. Prime Minister Hassan Diab calls for new elections, while the 3 MPs of the Kataeb party resign.

AUGUST 9
Ministers Manal Abdel Samad and Demianos Kattar submit their resignations. International leaders join a donor conference by videoconference with the United Nations. France pledges nearly $300 million of direct assistance to the Lebanese population.

AUGUST 10
Prime Minister Hassan Diab announces that he and his cabinet’s resignation.

AUGUST 27
Clashes between Hezbollah and tribal members in the town of Khalde resulted in two deaths and ten wounded.

AUGUST 31
Lebanon reaches 17,308 cases of Covid-19 infections.

SEPTEMBER 8
Ali Hassan Khalil and Youssef Fenianos, two former ministers, are sanctioned by the US Treasury’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

OCTOBER 9
A fuel tanker explodes in Beirut, leaving at least four people dead and thirty injured. The blast occurred after the tank caught fire in the Tariq-al-Jdide district.

OCTOBER 14
A delegation led by Brigadier General Bassam Yassine launched talks facilitated by the United Nations and the United States with Israel over the disputed maritime border.

OCTOBER 22
Saad Hariri is charged with the formation of a new government.

NOVEMBER 6
Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil is sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act by the United States.

DECEMBER 21
Parliament passes a law to lift banking secrecy for the duration of one year

DECEMBER 28
Lebanon reaches 171,226 cases of Covid-19 infections, with the death toll at 1394

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