Dozens of protesters from the Cry of the Depositors collective staged a sit-in on Friday morning in front of the Banque du Liban headquarters in Beirut's Hamra district. The sit-in was intended to "denounce BDL's unfair circulars against depositors," according to the collective's Twitter account.
The protesters briefly blocked the road running in front of the central bank building.
In a statement published online, the collective explains that it is protesting above all the new official Lebanese lira to US dollar exchange rate, which since February has stood at LL15,000 to the dollar, as well as Circular 165, published on April 19, which seems to enshrine the distinction between old and new funds in dollars and Lebanese lira, i.e., respectively, those subject to de facto banking restrictions applied since the start of the economic crisis in 2019 and those remaining free to use.
Demonstrators carried placards reading, "No to violations of depositors' rights" and "The depositors' dollar is at LL15,000, while the politicians' dollar is paid to them in cash."
Last Thursday, angry protesters ransacked four banks in the Sin al-Fil district (in Beirut's eastern suburbs) in response to a call from the Cry of the Depositors collective.
In February, several banks were set on fire and ransacked during a raid by the same collective in Beirut's affluent Badaro district. Angry demonstrators also vandalized banks in Tripoli, North Lebanon, on the same day.
Banks have been imposing illegal restrictions on customers since Lebanon's economic crisis began in 2019, limiting withdrawals and transfers.
In recent months, the country has seen a wave of bank heists in which depositors, sometimes armed, have broken into branches to claim their own funds.