Assaults on Banks in Lebanon Just Got Worse

Two months of anti-government protests and political deadlock, the economic crisis worsens by the day. Salaries are trapped with a $200 withdrawal limit, which has left people fueled with anger.

Capital control has been imposed by banks on dollar accounts, capping withdraws at $1000 a month. Some banks have imposed even stricter restrictions.

All while it was reported that billions of dollars were transferred from Lebanon within days by politicians, and unemployment has increased.

The economic crisis has exploded the already ticking anger bomb. The tightening control has resulted in a public uproar. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the banks, charging them with withholding the money illegally.

Banks all over Lebanon have increased its security in the past two months. The unrest that has taken over the Lebanese population led to a strong retaliation. Banks all over Lebanon have been targeted and blocked by protests.

Sit-in movements targeting banks that limit withdrawal have been set in motion this month. People have had enough.

Some of these sit-ins have turned violent in various banks, with employees getting assaulted and banks’ property getting damaged. Forcing banks to give the people back their money started just last week

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بيان صادر عن قطاع الشباب والطلاب في الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني: المصارف ستصبح في قبضة الناس، وهذا أوّل الغَيث… "المصارف ستصبح في قبضة الناس، وهذا أوّل الغَيث" إثرَ تبلّغنا بامتناع بنك BLC عن تسليم معاشات لموظّفين وودائع لصغار المودعين، توجّه الرفاق والرفيقات في القطاع مع مجموعاتٍ أخرى إلى المصرف المذكور (فرع الحمرا)، حيث اعتصموا داخله، إلى حين تسلّم جميع الزبائن الموجودين أموالهم وودائعهم. إنّ ما حدَث يؤكّد على ممارسات المصارف الكاذبة، حيثُ ادَّعت الإدارة عدم توفّر الدولار داخل الفرع، الأمر الّذي تبيّن عدم صحّته إثر الضغط الشعبيّ الّذي مورِسَ وانتهى إلى تسليم جميع الزبائن الحاضرين أموالهم – وبالدولار. إنّ الشيوعيّين لن يسمحوا للمصارف بعد اليوم بالسّطو على أموال الناس ورواتبهم. كما ندعو جميع المتضرّرين للانتظام في مواجهة المصارف والسّلطة السياسيّة المتواطئة على مصالح الناس. بيان صادر عن قطاع الشباب والطلاب في الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني، في ٢٨-١٢-٢٠١٩. #لبنان_ينتفض #يسقط_حكم_المصرف #الصراع_طبقي_ونص

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Accordingly, the Council of Federation of Syndicates of Bank Employees released a statement, stating that the attacks are organized by people who claim to represent the civic movement of the revolution.

They aim to distort the image of the banking sector, violating, in turn, the reputation of the government tasked with protecting all citizens against any threats.  

The Council called on the judicial system to start an investigation into those who have caused damage to the public funds and to persecute rumor mongers who are stirring trouble and damaging the banking sector’s reputation.

The Council also requested security agencies to protect banks against any assaults by depositors or they will be forced to declare a strike until stability is restored. 

The statement continues saying that these organized attacks have caused a state of chaos in bank branches and that this chaos will not eliminate the suffering of depositors who have the right to object according to the applicable laws.

On Thursday, someone started a fire in Bank Byblos in the Metn area. In the Halba town of Akkar, protesters and security forces clashed after the bank refused to allow more than $200 of withdrawal.

In the light of recent attacks and continuous insults the banks are facing on a daily basis, the employees of the banks are threatening to declare a strike.