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FINANCIAL CRISIS

Demonstrators march from ABL to BDL headquarters to protest banking restrictions


Demonstrators march from ABL to BDL headquarters to protest banking restrictions

Demonstrators gather in front of the headquarters of the Association of Banks of Lebanon in Beirut on Sunday. (Credit: @lebanesedepositors)

BEIRUT — Dozens of demonstrators gathered Sunday afternoon, in the pouring rain, in front of the headquarters of the Association of Banks of Lebanon in the Gemmayzeh area of Beirut, before proceeding to the central bank in the Hamra neighborhood, to protest illegal restrictions imposed by commercial banks on customers' deposits accounts for the past two years amid the country's financial collapse and triple-digit inflation.

Here's what we know: 

    • The demonstrators carried signs and shouted slogans denouncing the banks' policies. They also denounced new taxes that could be adopted as part of the 2022 budget, a draft of which is on the agenda of a cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday morning. The demonstrators marched towards the Grand Serail before arriving in front of the Banque du Liban headquarters.

    • The protesters threw flares toward BDL as security forces looked on but refrained from intervening. The demonstrators then marched on through Hamra, hitting the facades of bank branches with sticks, without causing any visible damage.

    • A tense sit-in under tension took place 11 days ago in front of the BDL amid the Lebanese authorities' inaction on taking measures to curb the economic collapse. The governor of BDL, Riad Salameh, who is implicated in several international investigations for financial misconduct and perceived by many Lebanese as responsible for the crisis that is paralyzing the country, is accused of not having succeeded in stopping the sharp depreciation of the Lebanese lira.

    • Last Wednesday, a Lebanese man held dozens of bank employees and customers hostage for a several hours in a bank in the Bekaa on the grounds that the bank refused to pay him his savings in dollars.

    • A cabinet session devoted to the study of the draft budget 2022, already criticized in several circles, is scheduled for tomorrow Monday at 9 a.m. Prepared with the greatest discretion by the Ministry of Finance, this preliminary draft is highly anticipated insofar as it should lay the foundations for the first salvoes of reforms that a Lebanon in crisis badly needs, in particular to convince its international partners and the International Monetary Fund to help finance its recovery. A meeting between an IMF delegation and Lebanese officials is also scheduled for Monday. 


BEIRUT — Dozens of demonstrators gathered Sunday afternoon, in the pouring rain, in front of the headquarters of the Association of Banks of Lebanon in the Gemmayzeh area of Beirut, before proceeding to the central bank in the Hamra neighborhood, to protest illegal restrictions imposed by commercial banks on customers' deposits accounts for the past two years amid the country's financial...