FAST FIVE: "Clients With Guns" Are Demanding Deposits From Crisis-Stricken Lebanese Banks
1 bank re-openings followed Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation last week, which the some one million demonstrators flooding Lebanon's streets since early last month have touted as a 'success'; however, the economy remains on the brink of collapse, given growing fears of a major run on the banks.
Since reopening banks have blocked most transfers abroad and maintained tight controls over hard-currency withdrawals, policies which have led to reports of threats against bank staff.
Likely the situation is about to become explosive into next week after the banks close for the weekend. “This is our money.
https://t.co/MrCicTg4yF – Bassem (@BBassem7) November 8, 2019 Chaotic scenes played out from the moment the banks reopened, as Lebanon's Daily Sabah described: Large queues starting forming outside banks from early morning and people rushed in as soon as doors opened to cash in their salaries and make transfers.
The tiny Middle East country currently has a crippling debt of $86 billion – roughly 150% of the gross domestic product – and some 80% of that debt is believed owed either to the central bank or to Lebanese commercial banks.