Banks in Lebanon are vandalised as economy freefalls

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 16, 2020 - Duration: 01:32s

Banks in Lebanon are vandalised as economy freefalls

UN official blames politicians for "dangerous chaos" in Lebanon as Beirut banks are vandalised.

Adam Reed reports.


Banks in Lebanon are vandalised as economy freefalls

Local businesses were counting the cost in Beirut on Wednesday (January 15) after protesters vandalised shopfronts in a popular neighbourhood the night before.

Workers repaired and cleared debris from damaged banks, as restrictions remain in place on customers having access to their funds, as well as the blocking of most transfers abroad for more than two months.

In clashes on Tuesday, security forces fired tear gas outside the central bank.

Protesters retaliated by throwing rocks and other objects.

Reuters footage also shows security forces firing live rounds into the air.

Lebanon has been facing financial instability since the government was toppled by the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in October.

His standing down was linked to ongoing protests against corruption and bad governance that are being labelled as root causes of the economic crisis.

The chaos left local people wondering on Wednesday, 'what next'?

(SOUNDBITE)(English) RETIRED LEBANESE WOMAN, HIND, SAYING: "I have been coming here for the last three days.

I only could take three hundred dollars (out of the bank), what to say, what to tell.

What to tell?

(SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) SHOPOWNER AT HAMRA STREET, MOHAMMED AL RAYYES, SAYING: "Unfortunately the chaos was because of the politicians in the country.

They led to the situation we are living in now." Inactivity on the part of politicians failing to form a government has been criticised by the U.N, whose senior official Jan Kubis said on Wednesday that Lebanese officials were standing by and watching their economy collapse, instead of solving the crisis.

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