Depositors raid banks across Lebanon demanding their trapped deposits
Lebanon witnessed 3 separate bank raids on Monday by depositors demanding access to their frozen savings as economic crisis deepens
Lebanon recorded Tuesday 3 bank break-ins in less than an hour, carried out by depositors demanding their money back, in light of the deteriorating economic situation in the country.
من أمام بنك بيبلوس في مدينة صور حيث يحتجز المودع المسلح بمسدس رهائن بداخله مطالبًا بوديعته البالغة ٤٤ ألف دولار لتسديد ديونه pic.twitter.com/rGLB9Maf4i— جمعية المودعين اللبنانيين (@Lebdepositors) October 4, 2022
The Lebanese Association "Depositors' outcry" announced that one of the depositors broke into one of the BLC banks' branches in the city of Chtoura in Bekaa (East), and held a number of people hostage, demanding his deposits back.
The association stated that "[Lebaese] citizen Ali al-Saheli, a retired soldier, broke into the BLC bank in Chtoura and detained its employees to demand the release of his deposit that are around $24,500 dollars." Later, the association reported on its Facebook page that Ali was arrested by the Lebanese security forces.
On the other hand, the Lebanese Depositors Association said in a tweet, "Today's outcome was the storming of the BLC bank in Chtoura and holding its employees hostage, while the First National Bank in Tripoli, Northern Lebanon, was raided by employees of Lebanon's electricity company."
حتى اللحظة— جمعية المودعين اللبنانيين (@Lebdepositors) October 4, 2022
اقتحام موظفي كهرباء قاديشا في طرابلس لفيرست ناشيونال بنك
علي الساحلي يقتحم blc في شتورة محتجزا رهائن
محاولة اقتحام في زحلة الا ان المصرف اقفل ابوابه قبل وصول المودع
The third incident of its kind today took place in Southern Lebanon, Tyre, as one of the depositors broke into Byblos Bank in a bid to free his savings. "The Depositor Ali Hassan Hodroj broke into Byblos Bank in Tyre, southern Lebanon, demanding access to his deposits worth $44,000 dollars in order to be able to pay his debts," stated the Association.
The escalation against the banking sector comes after Lebanese banks decided to lock most of the depositors' savings as the country undergoes one of the world's worst financial crises in recent history, rendering the overwhelming majority of the population unable to pay for basic goods.
The small Mediterranean country defaulted on its debt in 2020; the Lebanese currency has lost around 90% of its value on the black market, and the UN now considers four in five Lebanese to be living under the poverty line.
For more than two and a half years, Lebanon's banks have been imposing restrictions on depositors ' funds in foreign currency, especially the dollar, and placing harsh ceilings on the withdrawal of funds in Lebanese pounds.
Over the past period, such incidents have been repeated in Lebanese banks, after they refused to release depositors' savings in dollars.
In protest against the repeated break-ins, banks closed their doors for days last September, and the authorities demanded to impose security to be able to provide their services.