Why a woman in Lebanon was hailed as a ‘hero’ for blocking a bank

A Lebanese woman held a bank in Beirut on Wednesday and came out with $13,000 ($19,300) to fund what she said was a hospital treatment for her sick sister.
This is the latest in a string of thefts as Lebanese depositors, whose savings have been devalued and trapped in banks for nearly three years, have taken matters into their own hands.
Sally Hafez broadcast a live video of her madahara, in which she could be heard screaming, with the support of activists, at employees to release an amount of money while the entrances to the bank were closed.

“I am Sally Hafez, I came today … to take the deposits of my dying sister in the hospital,” she said in the video.

“I didn’t come to kill anyone or start a fire.. I came to claim my rights.”
The woman was described as a “hero” – translated to “the heroine” – on social media sites in Lebanon, as many are scrambling to access their savings that were frozen by banks amid the country’s economic turmoil.
In an interview with the new local media outlet, Hafeez said her family had sold most of their home furnishings to make ends meet and apologized to customers and employees who had scared them during the layover.
“I had no other choice but to get my money back,” she said.

An AFP reporter at the scene said gasoline was poured into the bank during the robbery and a gun was later found on the ground, though it was not immediately clear if it was real.

A Lebanese depositor holds banknotes inside the BLOM BANK branch in Beirut. source: AAP / Wael Hamzeh

The reporter said that Ms. Hafez and her suspected accomplices managed to escape through a broken window from behind before the arrival of the security forces.

The theft lasted less than an hour, and no injuries were reported.
It’s the second bank robbery in a month after another Lebanese man received widespread praise after he stormed a Beirut bank with a shotgun, demanding some of his $200,000 in frozen savings ($298,000) to pay hospital bills for his ailing father.

He was arrested but quickly released.

in january, A source at the bank said after he was told that he could not withdraw his savings in foreign currency.
Local media reported that the client eventually got some of his savings and handed it over to the security forces.

Lebanon has suffered its worst economic crisis ever since 2019. The local currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value on the black market, while poverty and unemployment rates have risen.

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