Hundreds protest against Lebanon’s central bank policies

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated on Thursday in front of the Central Bank of Lebanon, accusing it and all commercial banks of being partly behind the financial crisis in the country, Al Jadeed local TV channel reported.

Protesters chanted slogans against Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh while asking him to return the money from a financial engineering implemented by the central bank in 2016, generating billions of dollars in revenues for commercial banks.

Protesters also asked the central bank to remove the government’s public debt, saying that banks are making huge profits from the interests paid by the government on its debt.

Around 37 percent of Lebanon’s sovereign debt is held locally in the country’s banking sector.

People have also blamed the Association of Banks in Lebanon for imposing restrictions on cash withdrawals by citizens.

Lebanon has been witnessing nationwide demonstrations for over 40 days due to an attempt by the government to impose more taxes on citizens without taking serious reform measures to save the deteriorating economy.

Also, the Lebanese pound which has been pegged to the U.S. dollar for the past two decades at a fixed rate of 1,507 has weakened due to the shortage in U.S. currency in the Lebanese market.

This has also weakened the purchasing power of Lebanese citizens.