Lebanon bank chief slammed for blaming collapse on protests

Lebanese protesters slam central bank chief for blaming economic collapse on anti-government demonstrations
2 min read
28 October, 2019
Civil disobedience in Lebanon has seen the country come to a standstill.
Salameh said that the Lebanese economy is in a dire condition [Getty]
Lebanon's protesters have responded with outrage to remarks made by the country's central bank chief after he warned of a looming economic collapse due to anti-government protests.

Activists have taken part in strikes and protests across Lebanon against poor government, which has kept the country in lockdown for almost two weeks.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, central bank governer Riad Salameh said it was "a matter of days" before the country succumbed to economic collapse due to the protests.

He added that the "real asset" to Lebanon's economy is the Lebanese working diaspora, which said he needed confidence in the economy in order to keep sending their wages back home.

Salameh called for an immediate solution to the political crisis, criticising the lack of progress made by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

On Tuesday, Lebanon's banks will have been closed for 12 consecutive days, amid a dollar shortage which has caused an economic shutdown.

Protesters, however, were quick to point out that the country's financial situation was a large part of the reason that had driven them to the streets.

As one pointed out, Salameh had only in August called Lebanon's economic situation "top".

"Excuse me Mr. Central Bank governor, Lebanon already in collapse because of ur fiscal policies & endemic gov corruption, not the protests," another said.

Others ridiculed the bank chief for not recognising his tenure could have be part of the problem.

Some also slammed Salameh's remarks as part of a "propaganda campaign" to weaken the protest movement.

Protests have clustered outside the central bank in Beirut for almost two weeks, the streets around which have been covered in anti-capitalist slogans as a reference to the corruption and cronyism embedded among the political elite.