Banks in Lebanon threat to close as customers vent anger

The Lebanese Federation of Syndicate of Banks Employees said on Thursday that banks will close if security agencies do not secure the financial institutions against the aggressive attitude by depositors.

“Security agencies must protect banks against any assaults by depositors, otherwise banks will have to declare a general strike until stability is restored in bank branches across the country,” said a statement by the organization.

Protesters broke into a number of banks in the past few days, asking for their deposits amid severe and unofficial capital control practiced by banks due to a shortage of U.S. dollar currency.

Depositors who have U.S. dollar accounts cannot withdraw more than 300 dollars weekly in some cases while their withdrawals in Lebanese pounds is limited to 5 million weekly, but it differs among different banks.

The organization said that the state of chaos caused by these organized attacks on bank branches will not alleviate the suffering of depositors who have the right to object according to the applicable laws.