Report: Street Protests over Currency Depreciation Extend to pro-Hizbullah Areas
The Lebanese pound plummeted to an all-time low triggering street protests and road blockades that extended to pro-Hizbullah areas in Lebanon, the Saudi Asharq el-Awsat reported Wednesday.
The Lebanese pound was trading at nearly 10,000 pounds to the dollar on the black market on Tuesday.
Angry protesters took to the streets Tuesday across Lebanon over a deepening economic crisis that has thrown more than half of the population into poverty.
In the morning protesters in North Lebanon blocked various roads as the wave grew extending at noon to South Lebanon, the capital Beirut and the eastern Bekaa region.
Protesters in pro-Hizbullah areas also blocked with burning tires the al-Msharrafiyeh road in Beirut's southern suburbs, the old airport road on the capital’s southern outskirts.
The pound had been pegged to the dollar at 1,500 since 1997, but the country's worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war has seen its unofficial value plummet.
Before the latest downturn, the pound had briefly stabilised at 8,000-8,500 to the greenback in recent weeks.
In July, it had reached 9,800 to the dollar.
The dizzying depreciation came as the central bank started reviewing Lebanon's lenders, under international pressure for reform.
As part of a series of demands, it had given them a Sunday deadline to increase their capital by 20 percent.