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Queues throng Lebanese banks after one-week closure
At the Fransabank in Beirut, queues were building up as banks across the city reopened on Tuesday after a week-long closure. Police were deployed at most branches, with banks imposing tight restrictions on hard currency withdrawals and transfers abroad. Banks have mostly been closed since protests erupted against Lebanon's ruling elite on Oct 17. They reopened after a two-week closure on Nov 1, but shut again a week later because of a strike by staff who complained of intimidation from clients demanding their cash.
Seeking to avoid capital flight, the Association of Banks in Lebanon announced on Sunday that cash withdrawals would be limited to US$1,000 a week and transfers abroad would be restricted to urgent personal spending only. The central bank has said deposits are safe and that it has the capacity to maintain the value of the Lebanese pound, which is pegged to the US dollar.