Two-day bank strike exacerbates Lebanon financial crisis
In protest of judicial decisions against Fransabank, Credit Bank, Banque du Liban et d’Outre Mer, Bank of Beirut, Societe Generale, Bankmed, and Aoudi Bank, Lebanon’s banks went on strike for two days further exacerbating the beleaguered financial crisis in the country. As a result of the strike, the banks are at odds with the judiciary. Following an order by Prime Minister Najib Mikati based on the principle of separation of powers, the banks and the political elite await the outcomes of meetings between Minister of Justice Henry Khoury and the heads of the judiciary.
Depositors have filed lawsuits seeking access to funds held by the banks for more than two years, which have been condemned by banks as arbitrary. Politicians and legal experts argued about the legality and illegality of procedures and how targeting banks would affect the economy. There is concern that banks could escalate their actions, including an indefinite strike in protest against a decision by the judiciary that favors depositors.
A rising exchange rate between the US dollar and the Lebanese pound as a result of the bank strike has raised fears among the public that prices will rise again. Employees in the public and private sectors, as well as pensioners, expressed anger because they cannot withdraw their salaries and pensions from the banks.