Bank Holdups and Protests Continue to Rise in Lebanon as Depositors Demand Their Own Savings
On Dec. 17, reports detail that residents in Lebanon have been staging sit-ins and protests at banks in order to access their own savings accounts. Since the economic collapse in 2019, Lebanon’s banks froze Lebanese bank accounts, and a number of branches have remained closed indefinitely. The deprivation of wealth has caused a few impoverished Lebanese to demand their savings at gunpoint but so far, even these tactics have left most residents walking away or arrested penniless.
Lebanon’s Banks Deal With Protests and Gunpoint Demands From People Who Want Their Savings Back
In August 2019, it became apparent to the world that Lebanon was suffering from a liquidity crisis, and there have been many reports that say financial coverups and U.S. sanctions put Lebanon’s economy in a vice grip. It has been reported that by late 2018, a handful of Lebanese commercial banks froze people’s accounts and by the first week of March 2020, Lebanon said it would default on its Eurobond debt.
The country started seeking out restructuring agreements, and Lebanon’s lira exchange rate diverged significantly from the black market rate. A report published in August 2022 details that the “black market rate is what the currency is actually worth now.” In June 2022, Bitcoin.com News reported on Lebanon’s inflation rate surging to 211% which highlighted the economist Steve Hanke, who said the country should leverage a currency board.
Lebanese soldiers who are still able to make a living as enforcers protect Lebanon’s central bank and current politicians.
On Dec. 17, NPR columnist Ruth Sherlock described how poverty-stricken Lebanese have been outside of banks protesting in order to get access to their own savings accounts. In Tripoli, Lebanon at an IBL Bank branch, Sherlock said a 53-year-old woman named Zahra Khaled sat in a wheelchair and would not leave the bank until the staff gave up her life savings. Khaled commented that the bank froze “tens of thousands of dollars,” Sherlock says in her report.
Sherlock further details that Khaled’s protest is “one of the milder tactics” and some are using either real or toy guns to get their money back. The NPR reporter does note that some Lebanese who resort to this tactic only want “what they are owed.” Countless reports, littered all over the internet, confirm Sherlock’s account that says Lebanese bank accounts have been frozen since 2019, since the onset of Lebanon’s economic collapse. In 2020, angry depositors and protests got so bad that the commercial banks armored the fronts of specific branch buildings with steel and cement walls.
Reuters reported in Sept. 2022 that “bank holdups snowball in Lebanon as depositors demand their own money,” as these types of acts have become a normal occurrence in the country. Reuters elaborated that five depositors held up banks in order to access their own funds and some depositors managed to get around $60K, while some people were taken into custody. In Nov. 2022, Al Jazeera detailed that banks in Lebanon reopened for two weeks. “I’ve been waiting to cash a cheque for more than two weeks,” a Lebanese photographer told Al Jazeera.
Sherlock’s report specified that Khaled negotiated with the bank’s staff for hours but eventually the staff left and Lebanese police known as the Internal Security Forces (ISF) escorted Khaled out, without any of her funds. Lebanese depositors have had issues and have held protests at banks like Bank Audi, IBL Bank, Blom Bank, BLC Bank, Bank of Beirut, Fransabank, and Byblos Bank. On Dec. 16, Reuters reported that a U.S. court of appeals has decided that Lebanese commercial banks can be tried outside Lebanon.
Tags in this story Bank Audi, bank holdups, Bank of Beirut, banks, Black Market, black market rate, BLC Bank, Blom Bank, Byblos Bank, commercial banks, Eurobond debt, Fransabank, IBL Bank, Lebanese bank accounts, Lebanese commercial banks, Lebanon, Lebanon Banks, Lira, lira exchange rate, NPR reporter, Protests, Ruth Sherlock, Zahra Khaled
What do you think about Sherlock’s report that says Lebanese citizens are resorting to trying to get their funds at gunpoint and assembling protests in front of Lebanon’s commercial banks? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Ghanaian Cedi Appreciates by More Than 30% in 4 Days — Currency Recovery Follows IMF Loan Announcement ECONOMICS | 2 days ago ECB Hikes Interest Rates by 50bps; Signals Need for Further Hikes to Fight Inflation ECONOMICS | 4 days ago
Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Commodity Analyst Mike McGlone Suggests ‘Bitcoin Appears Poised to Resume Its Inclination to Outperform’
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Read disclaimerShow comments
More Popular News
In Case You Missed It
Argentinian Securities Regulator Launches Innovation Hub to Discuss Regulated Crypto Investments
The National Securities Commission (CNV), which is the Argentinian securities watchdog, recently launched an innovation hub with the goal of advancing conversations about cryptocurrency and fintech investments. This organization will serve as a link between private entities and the institution, … read more.
Bill ‘On Digital Currency’ Caps Crypto Investments for Russians, Opens Door for Payments Fed’s Bullard Wants to Raise Bank Rate to 3.5% by Year’s End, Hints at 75 Basis Point Rate Hike FBI Issues Alert Concerning Malicious State-Sponsored North Korean Hackers Targeting Crypto Firms Digital Ruble ‘Much Needed,’ Russia’s Central Bank Says, Won’t Delay Testing