On June 24, 2020, the parliament speaker Nabih BERRI, amid growing protests over Lebanon’s economic problems has called on the government, central bank, and commercial banks to declare a “financial state of emergency” and review measures to protect the country’s collapsing currency.
“From now on, it is unacceptable to turn the Lebanese into hostages to the black markets of currency, food, medicine, and fuel,” he said.
BERRI spoke about the necessity of reforms in various economic sectors in Lebanon, like the loss-making electricity sector, saying that no donor state or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would assist Lebanon unless it undertakes reforms.
“Any Lebanese official will be mistaken if he believes the IMF or any state or donor party can give us one penny of aid if we do not implement reforms,” BERRI said.
“Frankly, the world and international community believe Lebanon is a bottomless basket, and before this bottom is closed there will be no aid” he added.
The Lebanese pound reached a new low against the US dollar on Wednesday, losing 75 % of its value since October 2019.
The pound officially pegged at 1.507,5 to the US dollar since 1997, traded on June 24 at 6.300/6.500 on the parallel market.
Lebanon has been facing a tough economic situation due to the policies of successive governments, prompting people to hold numerous protest rallies since October 17, 2019.
Protesters on Wednesday came on the streets across the country. In Beirut, protesters blocked the Ashrafieh-Hamra lane of the vital Ring highway, which has become iconic for the anti-government protest movement.
Al-Jadeed TV said scuffles started between demonstrators and police, resulting in injuries.
“They are selling their nation for the sake of the dollar,” the protesters said, about the private banks.
Anti-government demonstrators blocked several roads in the Bekaa, Tripoli, Akkar, Mount Lebanon, and Sidon.
Donor states that have provided Lebanon with aid in the past, said that Lebanon will not receive anything until it undertakes reforms, to fix public corruption and waste that have originated the crisis. Lebanon started talks with the IMF in May 2020.
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, Presstv.com, and English.alarabiya.net.