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Protest in Tripoli’s Martyrs Square Amid Liquidity Crisis

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

Protesters gathered outside Joumhouria Bank in Tripoli’s Martyrs Square

Hundreds of citizens gathered in Tripoli’s Martyrs Square on Wednesday to protest against the ongoing liquidity crisis in Libya.

The demonstration occurred on the same day that the Central Bank in the eastern city of Bayda announced that its new banknotes, which were printed in Russia, would be issued.

The parallel bank in Bayda began distributing the new banknotes on Wednesday in Libya’s eastern region.

The parallel central bank printed 4 billion dinars worth of banknotes in Russia which are similar in design and size to the banknotes printed for the legitimate Central Bank in Tripoli.  However the new 20 and 50 dinar notes have different security features, watermarks, and serial numbers and are signed by Ali Salim al-Hibri, the governor of the eastern bank.

The protesters demonstrated their anger at receiving delayed salaries and their outrage at the shortage of withdrawals and long lineups at banks.

The protesters also expressed their frustration at the frequent power outages in the city and the low living standards of Libyans across the country.

Libyan banks are facing a massive liquidity crisis with people waiting hours outside of banks to withdraw money due to their lack of trust in the banking system. It has been reported that bank deposits have fallen from 6 billion dinars in 2013 to 3 billion in 2015 due to people’s fears of depositing cash in the bank.

The legitimate Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya announced on Wednesday that it received 112.5 million dinars from the United Kingdom to help alleviate the cash shortage.

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