Cash-strapped banks face Lebanese anger
With banks tightly limiting access to cash, lenders were targeted in a night of violent protests in Beirut's Hamra district.
Lebanese politicians are watching on as the economy collapses and protests turn angry, a senior UN official said on Wednesday, rebuking a ruling elite that has failed to agree a government or rescue plan for a country in deep crisis.
With banks tightly limiting access to cash, lenders were targeted in a night of violent protests in Beirut's Hamra district. Bank facades and ATMs were smashed and dozens of people wounded in confrontations with police.
Political rivalries have obstructed a deal on a new cabinet as the crisis hits ordinary people: the Lebanese pound has lost around a half of its value while anger at banking controls have led to rows and violence in branches.
"Another day of confusion around the formation of a government, amidst the increasingly angry protests and free-falling economy," Jan Kubis, UN special coordinator for Lebanon, wrote on Twitter. "Politicians, don't blame the people, blame yourselves for this dangerous chaos."
Kubis appeared to credit Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, saying he had sought "extraordinary powers to at least somehow manage the economy while those responsible watch it collapsing".
"Incredible," he wrote.
Salameh asked for extra powers last week, saying he wanted to standardise the banking controls.
Looking to assure anxious depositors, parliament speaker Nabih Berri said work was underway to safeguard people's money, especially small depositors and those of expatriates, without specifying further.
The violence in Beirut's Hamra area was some of the worst since anti-government protests began in October. Security forces fired tear gas outside the central bank to disperse protesters who pelted them with stones and fireworks.
One man hurled a car battery at the glass facade of a bank as another hit it with a metal pole, Reuters TV footage showed. On Wednesday morning, glass was being swept up at one vandalised bank as workers tried to fix a broken ATM at another.
She lives with a family in Saudi. READ MORE
Saudi Geological Survey shares details. READ MORE
Some residents in Sharjah reported feeling light tremors. READ MORE
The Coalition said that its forces launched a search and rescue... READ MORE
Today, less than 10 per cent of women are negotiators and mediators... READ MORE
Rahman, an engineer who has been living in Dubai since 2018, was the... READ MORE
The brothers sustained medium to serious injuries while the Asian... READ MORE
At least six other medical workers have died from the virus, while 1,... READ MORE