A Lebanese deputy robs a bank to access her savings

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  • Cynthia Zarazir has entered a branch of her bank to demand 8,500 dollars to allow her to undergo surgery, in the same week that six other assaults have taken place in different parts of the country

A Lebanese deputy robs a bank to access her savings

There is no day of peace for bank branches in Lebanon. During this week, seven outraged depositors have broken into their banks demanding access to their savings, with more or less success. But the most prominent of the assaults has been that of Cynthia Zarazir. Cynthia Zarazir is a deputy in the Lebanese Parliament since last May. The legislator has entered the Byblos bank unarmed, demanding 8,500 dollars for an operation. She has achieved them, not without great doses of controversy. 

Accompanied by two lawyers and journalists and photographers, Zarazir entered a branch in this Wednesday. Antelias, north of Beirut, with the intention of getting away with his money. “We spent a few days going back and forth to the bank and bringing my [medical] reportsand they do not answer us; I can't delay this any longer,” explained the recently elected legislator during her four-hour sit-in. “I came to take my money and I came as a normal citizen, not as a deputy,” she added. Zarazir has used this “last resort” to pay for surgery. 

After four hours of assault, the political representative, one of the 14 who came out of the protest movements, has achieved its goal. The $8,500 that was not covered by her insurance has been transferred to the hospital and she will be able to recover. submit to hers surgery. During the same day, another robbery took place in a Beirut suburb, where Hussein Shukr demanded $48,000 from his account. “I will stay here forever: one day, two days, three days… I want my right,” he defended in a video shared by the Depositors' Protest Association. There have also been demonstrations in front of the Central Bank of Lebanon, where dozens of people set fire to tires and threw objects at the building.  

In turn, a depositor has shot at a branch from the Beirut bank, in Byblos, in the north of the country, and has fled. There have been no injuries. All these assaults take place in a context of desperation and weariness among the Lebanese population. Since the banks introduced informal capital controlsAt the start of the economic crisis three years ago, depositors have seen their savings evaporate. For this reason, they can only withdraw a limited amount of their money, often converted to Lebanese pound which has lost 95% of its value since it began. the crisis. 

Controversial action

When they withdraw foreign currency they do so at an unfavorable exchange rate that cuts its value by 80%. The seriousness of the situation has sown a path of doubt around Zarazir's action. “I fully support the idea of ​​robbing banks to restore people's rights, but for a deputy to exploit her privilege to get what millions of people want but can't get without risking her life? The power dynamic is prominent,” researcher Nadim El Kak has denounced on social media.

He has not been the only one to criticize the > “performative politics of Zarazir. Some Lebanese already consider her part of a political class that is not involved. doing her job and that she is only doing her job. pursuing cosmetic measures to win the sympathy of the population. Zarazir has gotten her money from her, unlike many others who try the same as her and come home empty-handed.