Shooting, sit-in in front of the Bdl and actions in banks: anger boils over banking restrictions

On Wednesday, anger continues to boil in Lebanon against the restrictions imposed by the banks: new actions were thus taken by savers, including the deputy Cynthia Zarazir, an agency of Jbeil was targeted by the fire of a disgruntled depositary while, in front at the Banque du Liban, dozens of activists demonstrated against the circulars legitimizing the illegal measures adopted by the banks. One group even announced that depositors threatened on Wednesday to set fire to the homes of bank owners, accusing the Lebanese judicial system of denying them access to their frozen bank deposits.

In Haret Hreik, on the southern outskirts of Beirut, an army retiree named Hussein Chokr raided a Lebanese credit branch on Wednesday morning to ask for access to his savings, Hassan Jaafar, a member, told L’Orient Today. founder of the Union of Depositors. At the end of the day on Wednesday, Hussein Chokr left the bank after managing to strike a deal with the institution and recover some of his illegally locked money.

Moussa Agathy, spokesperson for the Cri des Dépons association, told our English-language publication L’Orient Today that Mr. Chokr received “all of his assets in Lebanese pounds, or 268 million pounds, plus $ 3,000 worth of dollars. 48,000 deposited into his “fresh dollar” account. The total amount he recovered in Lebanese pounds is equivalent to $ 7,000 at the parallel market rate, with one dollar trading at more than LL 39,000 today. Mr. Agathy also noted that the depositor subsequently left the branch after reaching an agreement with the bank which provided, among other things, for his account to remain open.

Shooting in Jbeil
On Wednesday, Change Forces MP Cynthia Zarazir walked into an unarmed branch of Bank Byblos in Antelias, on Mount Lebanon, to claim part of her frozen savings to pay for a surgical operation, the deputy told L. ‘Orient today. Ms. Zarazir ended up getting the $ 8,500, a “small” portion of her total account balance, which she was asking for.

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In Jbeil, an unidentified man opened fire on the facade of a Bank of Beirut branch after he was refused entry without an appointment. The man caused damage to the bank and no injuries were reported, according to Ani. The police arrived on the spot and opened the investigation.

Some banks now welcome their customers by appointment only, or bring them gradually and after showing their credentials, to protect themselves from any action by depositors. Measures taken after a week of bank closure, between 19 and 26 September, to protest against a series of transactions by savers who have recovered, or attempted to recover their funds by force. Seven actions of this type took place between 14 and 16 September, in Beirut and in the regions. On Tuesday, several other deals were also launched by savers.

Deposits have in fact been blocked by banks since the start of the socio-economic crisis in Lebanon three years ago.

Sit in front of the BDL
It is in this context that the association Le Cri des Déposés, a group that defends the rights of savers linked to various actions against Lebanese banks, organized a sit-in on Wednesday in front of the Banque du Liban in Beirut, to protest against the disappearance of circulars published by this institution “which make up 70%” of bank deposits.

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In the Hamra district, where the BDL headquarters is located, dozens of activists burned tires and threw stones at the heavily barricaded building. They asked the BDL to cancel its circulars. On the spot was the outgoing Minister for displaced persons, Issam Charafeddine, in support of the demonstrators.

These various BDL circulars indirectly validate the restrictions assumed by the banks, de facto allowed by the authorities. Among these circulars, number 151 authorizes the withdrawal of the “Lebanese dollars” or “lollars”, dollars that were in the bank before the start of the crisis and are now almost inaccessible, at a rate higher than the official rate of 1,507.5 LL. fixed at LL 8,000 from December 2021. Circular 161 authorizes banks to provide cash dollars to their customers – provided their account meets a set of defined criteria – by converting funds from their accounts at the rate of the BDL Sayrafa platform. Sayrafa’s rate is lower than that of the parallel market. On Wednesday it was set at LL 29,800 for one dollar, while the parallel market rate was LL 39,200.

At the end of the day on Wednesday, depositors threatened to set fire to the homes of bank owners, blaming the Lebanese judicial system for denying them access to their frozen bank deposits, Rami Ollaik told L’Orient Today on Wednesday. lawyer and founder of the Lebanese depositor advocacy group Mouttahidoun.

Anger continued to boil over Wednesday in Lebanon against restrictions imposed by banks: new actions were thus carried out by savers, including Congresswoman Cynthia Zarazir, a Jbeil agency was targeted by the fire of a disgruntled depositary as , in front of the Banque du Liban, dozens of activists demonstrated against the circulars that legitimize …

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