Protests target Lebanon's banks over financial meltdown

By Justine Babin and Nada Maucourant Atallah

In Lebanon, the lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic came as the final blow to the Middle East nation’s collapsed economy which has left half of the population living in poverty. Mass anti-government demonstrations which erupted last autumn have now flared up again amid food shortages and galloping inflation. Their anger has now turned on Lebanon’s banks for having acted as the burning fuse for the financial meltdown. Justine Babin and Nada Maucourant Atallah report from the capital Beirut.

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In Lebanon, the lockdown on public movement introduced on March 15th to contain the coronavirus pandemic had the effect of largely knocking out the remains of an economy that was already on its knees, having shrunk by 6.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year and officially forecast to contract by a further 13.8% of GDP in 2020.