Withdrawing money with a gun only

A bank teller after the robbery in Beirut
Image: AP

In Lebanon, desperate savers are taking up arms to get their money. They are hailed as heroes acting in self-defense against the corrupt elite.

VFrom the outside, it didn't exactly look like a hostage situation. The police officers in front of the bank branch in Beirut don't seem overly excited. A few demonstrators were standing in front of the entrance, a few television crews had come. What happened in the building was closer to a drama. A young woman named Sali Hafez stormed the branch with a group of activists on Wednesday. She was armed with a gas can and a pistol, a toy gun she later explained. An eyewitness said she threatened to set everything on fire and shoot the bank manager.

Sali Hafez stole about $13,000 - from her own account. "I didn't go into the bank to kill anyone or set the building on fire," she explained. "I'm here to get what I'm entitled to," says the interior designer in a video of the campaign that she shared herself. She wants to pay for her sister's cancer treatment and has $20,000 in her account that she can't get hold of.

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