A union representing employees of Lebanese banks called for a strike to continue on Wednesday, November 12th, its president said, prolonging Tuesday’s strike to close banks all over the nation, reported Reuters.
George al-Hajj, chairman of the Bank Employees Syndicates Federation, told Reuters that a decision had been made to prolong the strike and that a statement would soon follow.
The strike was called for over concerns about the security of bank staff as customers demanded access to their deposits and protesters demonstrated outside branches.
Lebanon's banks and schools were shut down in a new wave of chaos on Tuesday, November 11th as politicians were trying to agree on a new cabinet to push the country out of its worst financial crisis since the country’s 1975-90 civil war.
President Michel Aoun said lawmakers will conduct formal discussions in the near future to appoint a new prime minister and form the government. Politicians tried to agree on the structure of the government to replace the resigned cabinet of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri before the formal talks.
Bank branches, which had been closed for almost half of October, shut down again on fears for the safety of bank staff who felt daunted by customers demanding access to their accounts and protesters gathering outside banks, a union leader said.
The protests were sparked by outrage at the political elite in Lebanon, including several aging former leaders of the militias, widely viewed as the main reason behind lasting corruption in the government.
The country urgently needs a new government to enact economic emergency measures, and there is a growing concern over a sluggishness in payments for basic needs imported.