Depositors, Some Armed, Storm 4 Lebanese Banks over Withdrawal Limits

Outraged bank clients, at least two of them armed, stormed four commercial banks across Lebanon on Tuesday over withdrawal limits that have been imposed throughout the country amid a financial meltdown, Reuters reported. Cases of bank hold-ups have snowballed across Lebanon as residents have grown exasperated over the informal capital controls that banks have imposed since an economic downturn began in 2019. On Tuesday morning, a Lebanese man armed with a pistol and a grenade entered the Chtaura branch of BLC Bank, demanding access to his $24,000 in savings, according to Depositors' Outcry, a group campaigning for angry depositors. The group told Reuters in a statement that the man, identified as Ali al-Saheli, was in deep debt and also needed to wire money to his son, who was studying in Ukraine. Security forces later entered the bank and arrested Saheli before he could access any money, the group said. Also on Tuesday, a group of people employed at a state power station in Lebanon's north stormed the First National Bank Branch in the port city of Tripoli, according to witnesses. They were angry over delays in having access to their salaries and fees they were being charged for the process, said their union representative Talal Hajer from outside the bank. Read more.