“Let them eat cake,” Queen Marie Antoinette allegedly quipped when told the poor had no bread to eat. Their hunger and anger was to be one of many catalysts in the bloody overthrow of the French monarchy. Lebanon is heading in that direction as the currency collapses and hyper inflation makes it extremely difficult for Lebanese to make ends meet
Beirut- In Lebanon on Saturday Lebanese rushed to bakeries amid news that bread would stop being distributed to supermarkets and stores in light of the collapsing currency
“We cannot continue in light of the high dollar exchange rate … The dollar is equivalent to LL8,000, and we cannot continue this way,” said Ali Ibrahim, head of the Union of Bakeries Syndicates to local media.
Ibrahim said that bread would stop being distributed until “a solution to our losses is found,” local media reported.
TV footage showed crowding and large queues in bakeries across the country including Beirut, Tyre, Bekaa Valley and Sidon where bakeries have stopped distributing bread to supermarkets and shops.
Meanwhile, Economy Ministry Raoul Nehme tweeted “we have a supply of wheat and flour and therefore there is no bread crisis.”
He called on people not to rush to bakeries.
Bakery owners first started protesting the situation back in October, when the exchange rate had reached around LL1,600 at the parallel market, after the dollar liquidity crunch occurred in the country.
Bakeries sell in Lebanese pounds but must pay in dollars to millers, who in turn import wheat from abroad.
The exchange rate Saturday has reached as high as LL8,000 on the black market. The official exchange rate set by the Central Bank for the pound remains at LL1,507.5 to the dollar.
Lebanon subsidizes the imports of wheat but it is reportedly being smuggled to Syria using the illegal border crossings which are controlled by the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to support the Syrian regime following the announcement of the Caesar Act and accused the US government of trying to starve the Syrian people .
Lebanese media reported today that even medicince which is sub sided in Lebanon is being smuggled to Syria.