A group of protesters stormed into the Hamra branch of the BLC bank on the morning of Saturday, December 28th. The young men and women occupied every space inside the bank and demanded that all customers be given the money they were owed.
The protesters showed no intent to quit until the bank paid every customer present at the time the amounts they were requesting.
Eventually, after hours of protest, the management of BLC gave in to the protesters’ cries and proceeded to approve the withdrawals of the customers. The maneuver was a success.
Although the Lebanese Communist party had called for this particular protest in BLC earlier that day, many similar but spontaneous instances took place in different banks across the country on Saturday.
In Nabatiyeh and Tyre, for example, groups of protesters gathered in front of a number of banks in their respective areas and chanted against the policies regarding the limitations put on withdrawals in US dollars, demanding that the money be returned to its depositors.
A new wave of anger towards banks recently swept across the country after the latest remark made by Riad Salameh, the governor of the central bank of Lebanon.
The remark has provoked many and had them join the demonstrators who have been consistent in attending their daily sit-ins in front of banks since the early days of the October 17th revolution.
In response to the question of whether the value of the Lebanese Pound would continue to decline further in the local market, Salameh said: “No one knows.” He later stressed that the central bank’s policy on the official rate remains unchanged.
While the official exchange rate of the US dollar remains fixed at around 1,507 LPB, a single USD is currently worth more than 2000 LBP in the black market (alternating between 2000 LBP and 2150 LBP by the day).
Businesses are suffering massive financial losses due to the state of the nation’s currency, and more employees are getting salary cuts and/or being fired from their jobs as a result of the sharply declining economy.
The Lebanese people are blaming the central bank’s failed policies for the economic crisis.
Protests have been taking place in Lebanon for more than 2 months straight as the country spirals further down into chaos, with seemingly no new government on the horizon to work on stabilizing the worsening situation.
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