In Lebanon, dozens of incensed customers took matters into their own hands on Thursday, burning and protesting outside of several banks in Beirut, the country’s capital. They were upset about the government-approved withdrawal cap that has been in place on citizens’ accounts for the past three years.
Since the country’s economy crumbled and its currency lost 97% of its value so far, banks in Lebanon started to put restrictions on withdrawals of US dollars and Lebanese pounds in 2019.
Banks implemented the withdrawal cap without getting legal support, saving the country from catastrophic disaster. This forced depositors to file lawsuits to get access to their money, and some have even gone as far as raiding banks with guns to withdraw from their accounts.
A spokeswoman for Depositors Outcry, a lobby group that represents depositors with money trapped in the country’s banking system, told VOA that no fewer than six banks were targeted on Thursday after the Lebanese pound hit its lowest value.
A bank was set on fire in the Badaro neighborhood before firefighters raced in to put it out as riot police took up positions nearby, shields in hand.
The government has been unable to put together the changes required to get bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund for nearly a year, according to the presidency, who claimed that they are working on a financial solution to the situation.