Libya braces for protests

2014-02-07 16:39
<a href=\\\\>Shutterstock</a>


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tripoli - Security forces braced for protests on Friday against Libya's protracted political transition following the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with fears of more violence after an overnight attack on army headquarters.

Tensions have risen after a decision by Libya's highest political authority, the General National Congress, to extend its interim mandate.

Rival camps, many of them armed, have lined up for and against the GNC and its decision.

Interim Interior Minister Seddik Abdelkarim, who escaped an assassination bid late last month, issued an order late Thursday for security forces to "protect peaceful demonstrators".

But the "No Extension" movement, which has sponsored a number of recent demonstrations demanding the GNC's dissolution, is so concerned about the risk of violence that it was not formally organising any protests on Friday.

A statement said any of its backers demonstrating would be doing so "as individuals expressing their opinions."

One member of the group said that, "given the current tensions, we cannot guarantee the security of demonstrators... With so many armed groups, we fear things could get out of hand".

Lawlessness and chaos

No announcements have been made about where any demonstrations may take place, but they are expected after midday prayers on the Muslim day of rest.

The growing insecurity in Libya more than two years after Gaddafi’s ouster and killing, was highlighted in the capital late on Thursday, with a military spokesperson saying unidentified gunmen had tried to enter army headquarters but guards prevented them from doing so.

"The attackers ransacked cars and stole some weapons before pulling back," Colonel Ali al-Sheikhi told AFP of the incident, in which no one was hurt.

A separate military source gave a different version of events, saying fighting broke out after a dispute among soldiers.

The GNC was elected in July 2012 for a term of 18 months that should have ended on Friday. But on Monday, it ratified a decision to extend its mandate to December.

It took the decision despite the opposition of much of the population critical of its inability to halt Libya's slide into lawlessness and chaos.

Political activist Abu Bakar al-Badrid described the move as "a farce... About 40 initiatives were presented to the Congress these past few days to find a way out of the crisis, and it paid no attention".

Influential force

The Operations Cell of Revolutionaries, an Islamist militia of ex-rebels said to be close to the army, has lined up behind the GNC, and the powerful armed groups from Libya's third city Misrata have called the body "a red line".

But rival former rebels from Zintan, in the mountains southwest of Tripoli, an influential force in post-Gaddafi Libya, have vowed to protect any popular movement that goes against the GNC.

The GNC's mission has been to organise elections to a constituent assembly later this month which are to be followed by a general election.

The assembly, to be made up of 60 members with equal representation for Libya's three historic regions, will decide on key issues in a new constitution, including the system of government, the status of minorities and the role of Islamic sharia law.

The political bickering comes at a time of uncertainty over the fate of independent Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who defeated an Islamist-backed confidence vote against his government but is still on the defensive.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.