Lebanese Lawmaker Enters Bank Branch to Demand Frozen Savings

5 October, 2022
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Lebanese Lawmaker Enters Bank Branch to Demand Frozen Savings

A Lebanese member of parliament entered a branch of Byblos Bank north of Beirut early on Wednesday with a group of associates to demand access to her frozen savings to pay for an upcoming surgery, according to a depositors' advocacy group.


Cynthia Zarazir, a first-time parliamentarian who was elected in May to represent Beirut, entered the bank unarmed and demanded $8,500 in cash, a member of the Depositors' Union told Reuters.


The bank branch was immediately shut down after she entered, according to a live broadcast from within the branch by Al-Jadeed.


Cases of bank hold-ups have snowballed across Lebanon as residents have grown exasperated over the informal capital controls that banks have imposed since 2019, when the country's economic downturn began.


Depositors can only withdraw limited amounts in U.S. dollars or the Lebanese pound, which has lost more than 95% of its value since the crisis began.


Tuesday saw four hold-ups across Lebanon. Two of those incidents involved armed men demand their deposits.


Another incident took place on Monday.


Lebanon's banking association has expressed outrage over the hold-ups. A similar surge last month prompted banks to close for around a week.



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