Yesterday, the central bank and the Lebanese Banks' Association building witnessed thousands of protesters who gathered to reject bank policies amid unprecedented capital controls.
The protesters launched a campaign under the slogan “We’re Not Paying” that urges citizens to stop paying their loans and taxes and demanded that loan payments be postponed until the economic situation settles down.
Translation: “Lebanese people were humiliated, banks didn’t allow them to take their own salaries, taking away their basic human rights..”
The campaign came at a time when banks in Lebanon refused to give citizens their money, seizing depositors’ money in a manner that limits the freedom of the depositor to withdraw and dispose of their own money. In addition, Lebanese employees did not receive their full monthly salaries, but rather in weekly installments.
Translation: “We’re not paying.”
مواطن ذهب الى بنك الاعتماد اللبناني ب"فأس" ليأخذ امواله pic.twitter.com/DWqTsQP8HF— قيل وقال المصارف اللبنانية (@bankingscandals) December 26, 2019
Translation: “A citizen went to the Lebanese Credit Bank with an "ax" to take his money.”
Since the end of the civil war, banks have imposed weekly limits on withdrawals of U.S. dollars amid a shortage in liquidity and as the country grapples with its worst economic and financial crisis.
The country has been without a prime minister since ongoing mass protests forced the resignation of Premier Saad Hariri in October.
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said the bank would investigate all bank transfers that took place in 2019, referring to recent reports that senior politicians were allowed to transfer money abroad even as they imposed unprecedented restrictions on transfers and withdrawals by rank-and-file depositors.
“We hope the country improves so the economy can improve,” Salameh said, without commenting directly on the controls imposed by the banks, which many experts say are illegal.
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