At least a dozen different banks were set on fire and vandalized Tuesday evening throughout Lebanon; The Lebanese pound continues to decline, leading to more protests; IMF warns of economic danger for the remainder of the year.
Amid the ongoing decline of the Lebanese pound and the growing frustration with what is a corrupt government regime, Lebanese citizens are continuing their protests throughout the country. Tuesday evening was met with at least a dozen banks being set ablaze as well as other acts of vandalism.
At this time, it is unknown just how many protestors were hurt in the events, however, over 80 security personnel are confirmed to have received injuries. The most significant protest took place in Tripoli, the second-largest and poorest city after a protester by the name of Fouaz al-Semaan was killed on Monday after being shot by security forces.
Protests that were frequent at the end of 2019 have only enhanced at this point. What’s changed is that the people are even angrier now. Weaponry such as petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails were used in the attacks on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
The decline of the Lebanese economy is not a new reality. Roughly 50% of the country was in poverty at the beginning of 2020 – a number that has risen since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Lebanon’s social affairs minister reported that nearly 75% of the country is in need of aid right now.
One Lebanese economist stated, “We have recession with hyperinflation. This accelerates poverty and precarity and increases social unrest. Ultimately, there’ll be more violence on the street because of deep anger and poverty.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) anticipates that Lebanon is going to experience the worst economic decline in the Middle East in 2020, as their GDP falls an expected 12%.