BEIRUT — A depositor held a sit-in at a branch of the Lebanese Swiss Bank in Hadath, south of Beirut, on Thursday in an attempt to claim her money trapped in the bank.
In a video shared by the Lebanese Depositors Association, the woman, whose face is not visible, can be heard shouting at the bank employees: "We want our money today."
One of the employees replied, "Your demands must be within reason."
The association said via Twitter that police officers on the scene "hit" the depositor, who closed the bank's door.
No information is available so far regarding the amount claimed by the depositor or whether she was successful in gaining access to it.
In recent months, exasperated customers have repeated taken matters into their own hands in an effort to access their bank deposits. Since the economic crisis began in 2019, banks have imposed informal but draconian restrictions on withdrawals.
On Sept. 14, 2022, a young Lebanese woman named Sali Hafez held up a branch of Blom Bank in Sodeco, armed with a dummy gun. She claimed that her action was aimed at obtaining funds for her sister Nancy, who is suffering from cancer.
On the same day, another bank holdup took place in Bank Med in Aley, southeast of Beirut. Two days later, five bank holdups occurred across the country, organized by depositors wanting to recover their funds. Since then, similar actions have taken place regularly.
Lebanese banks launched a strike on Feb. 6 to, they said, defend the demands of the sector and to protest against legal proceedings launched against some institutions. After suspending their strike for two weeks, the banks announced on Thursday the resumption of their strike starting March 14.