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Three actions against banks by depositors in Lebanon, negotiations underway

In Sour, a former solider wants to withdraw his savings to help his mother, a cancer patient. In Tripoli, another depositor broke into her bank accompanied by her ill mother.

Three actions against banks by depositors in Lebanon, negotiations underway

A depositor holds a sit-in at Société Générale in Amioun, calling for the release of his deposits at the bank, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Courtesy of: Michel Hallak)

BEIRUT — From north to south, three operations are underway in Lebanese banks this Wednesday, led by depositors who want to recover their own savings.

In Tripoli and Sour, unarmed depositors are holding up their banks, while in Amioun, in the Koura region, a man is staging a sit-in to demand his bank transfer money to his son, a student in the United States. 

In Sour, depositor Reda Reda is "asking for money to take care of his mother who has cancer," according to the Association of Depositors. L'Orient Today's correspondent in South Lebanon reported that the depositor is a former Lebanese Army soldier from the locality of Hanaway, a district of Sour, and is unarmed. Negotiations are underway with the bank, and the employees have closed the doors of the establishment.

Sit-in at SGBL bank

Meanwhile, the Association of Depositors in Lebanon also reported on Twitter on Wednesday that a depositor had organized a sit-in in front of a branch of Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) in Amioun, a locality in Koura, North Lebanon. "Dr. Anis Tannous organized a sit-in in front of the Société Générale and prevented anyone from entering and leaving. He is demanding the transfer of his son's student loan to the United States," the association said.

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The information was confirmed to L'Orient Today by a member of the Cry of the Depositors group. According to this source, the man is unarmed, has health problems and his deposits exceed $30,000. "The bank only allows him to withdraw LL5 million a month," the source added.

According to L'Orient Today's correspondent, the man placed an olive tree in front of the door of the bank to prevent anyone from entering or exiting the establishment.

In Tripoli, also in North Lebanon, a depositor broke into a branch of the Intercontinental Bank of Lebanon (IBL) accompanied by her sick mother, lawyer and activist Rami Ollaik told L'Orient-Le Jour.

Read more:

‘I am Sali Hafez’: Behind the scenes of the bank holdup that kicked a hornets’ nest

IBL has closed its doors while the depositor, Amina Mohammad, negotiated with the administration to recover her savings, Ollaik said, adding that the depositor is unarmed. The nature of the depositor's mother's illness has not been specified.

The Cry of the Depositors and Mouttahidoun, another collective, announced in the afternoon afternoon that IBL agreed as a first step to give Mohammad $15,000. The sum is to be handed over to her on Thursday, they said. 

Since the onset of a serious financial crisis in Lebanon in 2019, banks have placed de facto capital controls on most people's deposits while also reportedly transferring billions of dollars abroad. In recent months, bank holdups — some involving the use of arms — have become increasingly common as account holders seek to gain access to their savings.


BEIRUT — From north to south, three operations are underway in Lebanese banks this Wednesday, led by depositors who want to recover their own savings.In Tripoli and Sour, unarmed depositors are holding up their banks, while in Amioun, in the Koura region, a man is staging a sit-in to demand his bank transfer money to his son, a student in the United States. In Sour, depositor Reda...