BEIRUT — The Association of Banks in Lebanon announced in a statement Thursday that on March 14 they would resume their open-ended strike, which they launched in early February, citing "arbitrary judicial decisions."
ABL said it is defending the demands of the sector and protesting against legal proceedings launched against some of its members, which they consider unjustified.
ABL initially suspended its strike on Feb. 24 for one week then renewed it for a similar period on March 3.
Most private and public sector employees are withdrawing their salaries from the banks. ABL's temporary strike suspension also came after Banque du Liban raised the exchange rate of its Sayrafa platform, which is meant to make it more advantageous to purchase dollars compared to the parallel market rate.
ABL's Board of Directors took the decision to resume the strike on March 14 following a meeting held Wednesday evening.
The banks are calling on the judiciary to abandon legal proceedings launched by the prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Mount Lebanon, Judge Ghada Aoun, against several banks. Aoun is attempting to investigate purported money laundering against two banks that refused to release select officials’ account information.
They are also calling on Parliament to enact a capital control law, abolish banking secrecy and revise the lawsuits against banks.
Since 2019, Lebanon has been sinking into a deepening financial and economic crisis. Banks have implemented severe, illegal restrictions on deposits, locking many citizens out of their life savings.
Banks also demand the unification of the criteria used for the repayment of loans and the payment of deposits. They denounced in their Thursday statement "new arbitrary judicial decisions ... made in recent days" against some of the banks for the benefit of depositors wishing to recover their deposits in cash dollars.