- Title: Lebanon banks to remain shut as protests paralyse country
- Date: 22nd October 2019
- Summary: NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGE READING (Arabic): ''The state acts with arrogance.''
- Embargoed: 5th November 2019 15:42
- Keywords: economy anti-government protests morning protests Tripoli politics Sidon Beirut Lebanon
- Location: BEIRUT, KAFR RUMMAN AND MARJAYOUN, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, KAFR RUMMAN AND MARJAYOUN, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Civil Unrest
- Reuters ID: LVA002B26J1HJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Lebanon's banks will remain closed for a fifth working day on Tuesday (October 22) amid national protests and banker concerns about a possible run on deposits.
A set of emergency reforms announced by the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday (October 21) failed to assuage protester anger. The measures would have banks footing a big part of the bill for slashing the 2020 budget deficit to 0.6% of national output from a targeted level of around 7% in 2019.
Hariri said the central bank and commercial banks would contribute 5.1 trillion Lebanese pounds ($3.4 billion) to the deficit reduction, including through an increase in taxes on banks' profits.
Lebanon has been swept by days of protests against a political elite blamed for leading the country into an economic crisis that is entwined with strains in the financial system not seen since the 1975-90 civil war.
Hariri's senior adviser Nadim Munla said he expects foreign donors to react positively to the reforms, which he said show Lebanon was serious about cutting its budget deficit.
Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded streets across Lebanon since Thursday (October 17), furious at a political class they accuse of pushing the economy to the point of collapse.
The protesters have been blocking highways as part of the countrywide demonstrations which have united Lebanese from across the sectarian spectrum and have not been led by any of the parties that have long dominated politics.
Some main roads had reopened on Tuesday but they remained blocked in some areas.
(Production: Alaa Kanaan, Hassan Hankir, Karamallah Daher, Yara Abi Nader, Ayat Basma)
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