Saudi Arabia bags two gold medals, 2 silvers in GCC Games    Saudi Athletes Achieve Great Victories in the 2nd Day of the GCC Games Tournament in Kuwait    Director of Islamic Affairs of Al-Madinah Branch Receives General Mufti of Kosovo    Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attacks on Military Base of African Union Peacekeeping Forces in Somalia    Cabinet congratulates Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed on becoming UAE president    DGDA, Riyadh Third Health Cluster sign MoU to provide healthcare services in Diriyah    City Walk Receives Entertainment and Event Enthusiasts within Jeddah Season with Exciting Shows    Historic Jeddah Zone Attracts Visitors By Distinctive and Historical Shows    Jeddah Pier, the greatest amusement park on the sea, welcomes its visitors with delight and joy during the "Jeddah Season."    Riyadh to host first conference of IAEE in Middle East    EU ready to defend Finland and Sweden in event of Russian attack amid NATO bids    Heavy rains trigger floods in northeast India, killing 8    Guterres calls for 'swift formation' of inclusive Lebanese government    'Saudi women's participation in economic activities reach highest level with 35.6%'    UAE president, vice president congratulate King Salman on being discharged from hospital    Kay Mellor: Actress and Fat Friends creator dies aged 71    OIC Secretary General Receives Permanent Representative of Guinea-Bissau to OIC    Jeddah Jungle Welcomes Visitors with Thrilling Safari Experiences    Egypt to Host 2022 Annual Meetings of Islamic Development Bank Group in Sharm El Sheikh    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Lower at 12,689.87 Points    Ruler of Ajman Congratulates Custodian of Two Holy Mosques on Being Discharged from Hospital    KSrelief Distributes 3,121 Food Baskets to 18,726 Individuals in Hargeisa, Somaliland    Foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia to jump 20 times by 2030: Al-Falih KSA develops business environment through massive reforms    Saudi delegation concludes partnerships with US capacity building companies    How cricket-crazy India scripted world badminton glory    Sri Lanka down to last day of petrol, warns new PM    Asian Shares Advance    Twitter boss hits back on Musk doubts over fake accounts    Abdulghani clinches first gold for Saudi Arabia in Gulf Games    Jazan Hosts West Asian Beach Soccer Championship    Gulf Health Council: Large sunglasses give better UVA protection    Former Australia cricketer Symonds dies aged 46 in car crash    Saudi citizen turns attention to sports after retirement    5 Arab women filmmakers receive Netflix grant    Over 250 Saudi Female and Male Players to Participate in Kuwait 3rd GCC Games on Friday    Saudi Deaf Athletics Team Leaves for Brazil    Bollywood actor's tweet reignited debate over Hindi as India's national language    SFDA Advises to Wash Dates Well Before Eating    SFDA Advises Against Mixing Surplus of Iftar and Suhoor with Different Foods or Surplus from Other Days    Ministry calls on imams to avoid long supplications in Tahajjud Prayer    Nothing wrong with a Muslim celebrating birthdays, says Saudi scholar    Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt: Bollywood wishes for star couple on wedding    SFDA Warns Against Microbes Accumulation on Coffee when Stored Incorrectly    SFDA: Over-roasting or roasting is not an indication of the level of food and may cause harm to human health    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques addresses citizens and all Muslims on the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Banks burn as Lebanon's Tripoli rises up in hunger
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 28 - 04 - 2020

DUBAI — A truck pulled up to a bank that had been set on fire in central Tripoli, Lebanon, and the team of four men quickly set to work loading a number of steel rods left in the entrance of the building into the back of the truck, even as the smoke became thicker and blacker and began to belch from the bottom of the building.
"They're stealing them," said a bystander, with a rueful but understanding look on his face.
Nearby, a crowd watched the bank burn, and there was little condemnation of those who had started the fire or the opportunistic looters who had left with their metal haul.
"It's the economic situation," said a 51-year-old woman in a green hijab who worked in a doctor's surgery next door. She declined to give her name. "Despite the corona, people are hungry. They can't take it anymore."
In recent weeks the value of Lebanon's currency has plummeted amidst a dollar shortage. While the lira is still officially pegged to the dollar at a rate of one to 1,500, the local currency now trades at 4,000. The rate is increasing every day, causing the price of goods and food in stores to skyrocket. The central bank has tried to regulate the exchange rate down closer to 3,000-3,800 in various circulars.
Tripoli, Lebanon's second-largest city, is one of the poorest areas of the country with poverty rates at the end of 2019 around 50 percent. The city was a focal point for the anti-government protests that began in October last year, driven by widespread anger at government inefficiency, corruption, and a deteriorating economy.
The movement began to lose momentum around the New Year, but the economy has only worsened as the country battles to contain the global coronavirus pandemic. Lebanon has so far been comparatively successful in containing the spread of the disease, but only by imposing stringent social distancing measures that subsequently shuttered much of the economy.
Lebanon's government began a five-stage process to reopen the economy on Monday. Nevertheless, as the economic situation worsens, Tripolitans have recently begun to take to the streets once again. In clashes with security forces during demonstrations yesterday, a 26-year-old protester was shot and killed, reportedly by the army.
After the victim's body was driven through the city's streets on the way to his funeral, protesters began to target banks, tearing down lamp posts and street furniture to smash their way into what have become symbols of the rapidly widening inequality in the country.
The top 1 percent receives 25 percent of national income on average, and the top 10 percent receives 55 percent of national income, according to data collected between 2005 and 2014.
On the corner of Al-Tall Square, at the edge of which stands a proud Ottoman clock tower, hundreds of protesters — nearly all of them young men — faced off with security forces, responding with rocks to their counterpart's tear gas and, reportedly, rubber bullets.
"Everyone's hungry. They want to eat but no one's got any money," said a 30-year-old man as he ducked behind a corner to shelter from a cloud of gas. The man said he earned 25,000 lira a day working in a restaurant — less than $30 at the official exchange rate, and much less by the parallel market value.
He listed the rapidly increasing prices of staple products, such as rice and lentils.
"This is the most basic food. This is the food of the poor." he said. "We want to pay rent and eat. I've got two kids I need to feed ... This is how we're dying. We're not scared of corona."
Barely a hundred meters away at a different bank, smoke laced out of the forged iron grill decorating the arches of a nearby bank. The inside was reduced to charred black cinders. The outside was covered in pro-revolutionary graffiti and the external ATM had been destroyed.
"It's action and reaction," suggested Khaled Naja, a jovial, slightly portly bystander with flecks of silver in his hair.
"It's not inflation, it's super inflation (is) what's going on. People are not able to buy essentials. The middle classes are disappearing bit by bit, and the gap is widening between the poor and the rich," he said. "I'm really anxious of what's going on. I'm not a pessimistic guy but there's a difference between pessimism and realism."
As of Tuesday evening, seven injured protesters had been transported to nearby hospitals and 25 had been treated at the scene, according to figures from the Lebanese Red Cross. — Al Arabiya English


Clic here to read the story from its source.