Banks inclined to extend strike as Mawlawi denies recommending closure
The Association of Banks in Lebanon is inclined to extend the closure of banks until Monday, al-Jadeed TV reported on Wednesday.
Quoting unnamed sources, al-Jadeed said the decision to extend the strike “came after days from a meeting that was held with caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi, who advised the Association to extend the strike until a security plan for protecting banks is finalized.”
Al-Jadeed, however, communicated with Mawlawi, who denied advising the Association to extend the strike.
“Banks must shoulder their responsibilities towards employees and depositors and the Lebanese state has a duty to protect all citizens and public order and to preserve security in the country,” Mawlawi said.
“Bank also have a duty to protect their branches,” he added.
Lebanon saw at least seven bank heists by angry depositors last week, with five taking place on the same day.
As a result, Lebanese banks sealed their doors on Monday as part of a three-day closure due to mounting security concerns.
A financial crash widely blamed on government corruption and mismanagement has caused the worst economic crisis in Lebanon's history.
The World Bank has branded the financial crisis one of the world's worst since the 19th century.
Making matters worse, Lebanese depositors have been locked out of their foreign currency savings by banking controls that have gradually tightened since 2019.
Unable to transfer or withdraw their dollar deposits, many have resorted to desperate bank heists to free their money.