Civil unrest, closed banks and taxi strike in Lebanon

(ANSAmed) – BEIRUT, 19 SET – Road blocks, sit-ins and
demonstrations are taking place in various areas in the northern
part of Lebanon and of its main city, Tripoli. The cause for
this unrest is to be found to the continuous deterioration of
socio-economic conditions due to the country’s worst financial
crisis ever.
Protesters blocked circulation in Beddawi, in the north of
Beirut, and in the remote north-eastern area of Wadi Khaled,
near the Syrian border. Already last Friday, Tripoli had been
overrun with protests.
Today, and for the next two days, banks will remain closed.
Last week, seven different banks were assaulted by depositors
who, like most people in the country, have not had access to
their own foreign currency accounts due to the financial
default. The Association of the Banks in Lebanon (ABL) confirmed
the closure of all bank branches across the country as necessary
to deal with the additional security measures. The land of the
cedars is also experiencing an Uber autopubblica strike: due to the
continuous increase of gasoline prices, autopubblica drivers are asking
for their rates to be raised.
It is in this context that the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) delegation arrived in Beirut today, as the outgoing
government of Najib Mikati, caretaker Prime Minister, is
struggling to implement the legislative agenda to comply with
IMF requirements necessary to unlock the desperately needed
international support. A preliminary agreement was reached in
the last months between the IMF and the government. However, for
it to be implemented and for the IMF to begin pumping in
economic relief, the current Lebanese political class,
considered responsible for the crisis, has been called to modify
the structure of its banking and administrative infrastructure.
The Lebanese pound has lost over 95% of its value in less than
three years. In 2019 one dollar, at a fixed exchange, was worth
1,500 Lebanese pounds, today one dollar is worth nearly 40
thousand Lebanese pounds. Petrol importers pay in dollars, while
they sell it to consumers in Lebanese pounds.
According to the United Nations, over 80% of the people in
Lebanon now live in poverty. Their local currency having lost
nearly 95% of its value in less than three years. (ANSAmed).