EconomyLebanonMiddle East

Suspicious Movement Reported at Lebanon’s Central Bank

Hamra Street in Beirut was blocked on Tuesday as protests took place near the Central Bank of Lebanon (Banque Du Liban, BDL).

Demonstrators who gathered in Hamra Street were holding banners and chanting slogans in protest against the Central Bank’s economic policies that played role in increasing the country’s public debt.

“Down with the bank rule,” one of the banners said, while another wrote “lift bank secrecy of officials.”

Calls were posted by activists on social media for more protests near the Central Bank throughout the day on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Akhbar Newspaper reported that despite the fact that the Central Bank was closed on Monday, several employees at BDL entered its office and stayed there for four hours.

The daily described the move as suspicious, noting that the employees work in a department in the bank that is responsible for selling and buying dollars in the Lebanese market as well as making money transfers from Lebanon to other countries.

These transfers exclude credits used for buying oil, wheat and medicine, the paper added, wondering: “What was the secret mission that these employees were tasked with in a day off (due to the general strike in the country)?”

Mass rallies have swept across Lebanon since last Thursday, with Lebanese citizens taking to streets in Beirut, Tripoli, Jonieh, Sidon, Tyre and Nabatiyeh in protest against hard livelihood conditions in the country.

Responding to protests, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Monday a package of reforms and a budget with no new taxes following a five-hour government session headed by President Michel Aoun at Baabda Presidential Palace.

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