Lebanese life paralyzed by political stalemate

Closed schools, banking restrictions and lack of liquidity have become the daily routine since the beginning of the dispute.

Time to Reading 5 min.

Protesters stand next to a makeshift wall built to block the southern entrance to the city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon on 13 November. IBRAHIM CHALHOUB / AFP

Many schools in Beirut have kept their doors closed, Thursday, November 14. The day before was marked by multiple tensions, after the death Tuesday night, a protester, shot dead, and an interview with President Michel Aoun who exasperated the protesters. Roads were blocked. The transport of students, who sometimes live far from their classrooms, is largely done by bus chartered by the institutions, and in the current context, these shuttles are impossible to insure. "In any case, I refuse to send my children to school under these conditions," cowardly, anxious, a mother.

Since the start of the protest movement on October 17, against the entire political class, accused of corruption and negligence, the morale of the homes that support the anger of the street is yo-yo. They are perpetually torn between the hope of renewal brought by the popular uprising and the fear of collapse, economic or security. "My mother shares the demands of the revolution, but she is afraid for us at the demonstrations, resumes Mohamed Hijazi, a 23-year-old student. We also feel our parents stressed, because of the economic situation.

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In almost a month, the banks only worked for six days. Officially, since November 12, they are paralyzed by a strike by employees who denounce the aggressiveness shown by customers during the brief reopening phases. But according to a source in the sector, it is rather an informal decision of the banking system, to protect itself, until a new government is formed. Protesters denounce, they, pressures to create the fed-up in the population in the face of the uprising.

Credit cards declined

The affluence was massive when the windows opened again. Restrictions imposed by banks, such as the cap on withdrawals in dollars (commonly used currency, with the Lebanese pound) or the blocking of transfers abroad, have reinforced the fears of customers. A de facto control of foreign currency capital was put in place to guarantee the reserves and avoid a collapse of the pound. Large sums have, however, left the country since October 17, reinforcing the feeling of inequality.

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"The rules must be the same for everyone"Serge, 41, who runs a small business importing heating systems. He was demonstrating on Wednesday, on the road that leads to the presidential palace of Baabda, blocked by the army, against the remarks made by Michel Aoun, the day before. "We only open a few hours a day: we can not order goods or cash what our customers pay. We expect things to happen by trying to leave the least feathers behind us. "


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