Many people across Lebanon have desperately tried to rob their country’s banks in order to get their own savings – a sign of the country’s deteriorating financial situation.
On Friday, there were at least five bank robberies. One person entered the building armed with a hunting rifle, prompted by restrictions on the amount customers can withdraw from banks since 2019.
In the past 48 hours, at least seven banks have been robbed.
One customer who was carrying something that looked like a weapon managed to make $19,000 out of his own account.
After the theft, he gave the money to this partner, whom the local press claimed was his son, before turning himself in to the police.
In the southern part of the capital, Beirut, a man armed with a fake pistol managed to withdraw $20,000 from a bank.
Another man, Abd Supra, entered a bank armed, demanding access to his $300,000 in savings.
He eventually left the bank after sunset without his money, and was not detained by the authorities.
In another part of Beirut, a man with a hunting rifle requested his deposit. The man, Jawad Saleem, is a father of seven who has been unemployed for months.
In response, the Association of Lebanese Banks decided to close all of its branches from September 19 to 21.
Lebanon is suffering from what the World Bank has described as one of the world’s worst economic crises, pushing nearly three-quarters of the country’s population into extreme poverty.
The country’s currency, the Lebanese pound, has lost 95% of its value since 2019.
The economic crisis was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut Port, which was considered one of the worst non-nuclear explosions in history.
The 1.1 kiloton explosion, which is still under investigation, killed at least 218 people, injured 7,000, and displaced at least 300,000 people.