Financial institutions in Lebanon are planning a three-day shutdown in response to mounting demands from irate depositors for their funds.
According to Reuters, armed depositors held up five Lebanese banks on Friday morning.
According to two bankers, Lebanon’s banks will soon announce a three-day closure next week due to growing security concerns.
Over an economic crisis, Lebanon’s commercial banks have imposed capital controls by setting withdrawal and transfer limits since late 2019, leaving many of the population unable to pay for basic necessities.
According to Reuters, a man with a gun — which turned out to be a toy — was apprehended after holding up a Lebanese bank in the southern city of Ghazieh.
In a statement, BLOM bank, a Lebanese bank, revealed that an armed man entered its branch in Tariq al-Jdideh, Beirut’s neighborhood, looking for his deposit.
The bank also stated that the situation was under control.
A large crowd of people gathered outside cheered on the man, identified as Abed Soubra, a scene that has played out in several similar incidents.
“He’s a merchant and he’s in the right, and he could go to jail because people need money from him. What should he do?
“Go to jail because people need money from him while he has money in the bank?” a Lebanon resident said.
In a third incident, a man armed with a pellet gun entered an LGB bank branch in Beirut’s Ramlet al-Bayda neighborhood, attempting to withdraw $50,000 in savings, according to a bank employee.
The incidents on Friday followed two others in the capital of Beirut and one in the town of Aley on Wednesday.
In a desperate attempt to fund “hospital treatment for her cancer-stricken sister,” a woman wielding a gun and some associates briefly held hostages at a BLOM bank branch in Beirut before fleeing with more than $13,000 in cash from her account.
Another armed man entered a BankMed branch in Aley, Lebanon, and retrieved some of his trapped savings before surrendering to authorities.