NICOSIA, Cyprus — Banks in Cyprus are to open for the first time in more than a week today, but restrictions will be in place on financial transactions to prevent people from draining their accounts.
Among the controls, cash withdrawals will be limited to 300 euros, or about $383, per person each day. No checks will be cashed, although people will be able to deposit them in their accounts, according to a ministerial decree released late Wednesday. The controls will be in place for four days.
Cyprus' banks were closed March 16 as politicians scrambled to come up with a plan to raise $7.5 billion so the country would qualify for $12.9 billion in much-need bailout loans for its collapsed banking sector. The deal was finally reached in Brussels on Monday, and imposes severe losses on deposits of more than 100,000 euros in the country's two largest banks, Laiki and Bank of Cyprus.
Since Monday's deal, Cypriot authorities have been rushing to introduce measures to prevent a rush of euros out of the country's banks when they do reopen.
In the capital, Nicosia, several hundred demonstrators marched from the European Union's offices to Parliament to protest the bailout plan.
Armed police officers guarded several trucks carrying containers arriving at the country's Central Bank, while a helicopter hovered overhead. The contents of the trucks could not be independently confirmed, although state-run television said they were carrying cash flown in from Frankfurt for the bank reopening. Meanwhile, private security firm G4S will dispatch 180 of its staff to all bank branches across the island to keep a lid on any possible trouble, said John Argyrou, managing director of the firm's Cypriot arm.