Lebanese bank protests and holdups are increasing as depositors demand their own savings

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According to reports, on December 17, people in Lebanon have been protesting and holding sit-ins outside banks in order to have access to their own savings accounts.

Lebanese bank accounts have been frozen since the economic collapse in 2019 and a number of branches have stayed permanently shuttered.

Few poor Lebanese have used force to reclaim their money due to the lack of resources, yet so far, even these measures have resulted in the majority of citizens being detained or walking away from the scene penniless.

Banks in Lebanon deal with protests and demands from people who want their savings back made under threat of violence.

According to reports, a few Lebanese commercial banks blocked their customers’ accounts towards the end of 2018, and Lebanon announced it will default on its Eurobond by the first week of March 2020.

According to a report released in August 2022, “the money is truly worth today at the black market rate.” According to a Bitcoin.com News article from June 2022 about Lebanon’s inflation rate rocketing to 211%, the nation should use a currency board, according to economist Steve Hanke.

Ruth Sherlock, a contributor for NPR, discussed how poor Lebanese have been demonstrating outside banks to gain access to their own savings accounts on December 17.

Zahra Khaled, 53, reportedly sat in a wheelchair at an IBL Bank office in Tripoli, Lebanon, and wouldn’t leave until the employees gave away her life savings, according to Sherlock.

According to Sherlock’s investigation, Khaled said the bank had frozen “tens of thousands of cash.”

Sherlock adds that other people are using toy or actual guns to get their money back, whereas Khaled’s protest is “one of the softer approaches.”

Lebanese commercial banks may be sued outside of Lebanon, a U.S. court of appeals concluded, according to Reuters on December 16.

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