After months of near-constant protests, Lebanon is on fire. Rising tensions over the country’s deteriorating economy, coupled with an unhurried political class, have prompted protesters to attack Lebanese banks and clash with security forces in Beirut.
While rioters broke into storefronts and threw flares at police, protesters’ tents were torn and burned down in a stark image underscoring a crisis the likes of which Lebanon has not seen since the end of the country’s Civil War in 1989.
In a metaphor parallel to the fires in the streets of Beirut, the country’s Central Bank (Banque du Liban) continues to burn through dollar deposits financed by borrowing from private Lebanese banks as it tries to make loan interest payments and simultaneously shore up the rapidly depreciating Lebanese lira.
With the lira having lost more than 60% of its value since last summer, and with withdrawal limits in place, average Lebanese people have struggled to pay for fuel and other basic goods.