Libya: Excessive Force Used by Armed Militias Against Protesters in Tripoli

Hundreds protest against GNA corruption in Tripoli

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Hundreds of people took to the streets in Tripoli to protest against corruption inside of the Government of National Accord (GNA), demanding that the Fayez Al-Sarraj-led government be “overthrown”.

Protests held GNA responsible for the deterioration of living conditions, criticizing the government officials high wages while ordinary citizens suffer from the cash liquidity crisis.

GNA’s payments for its Turkey-backed Syrian mercenaries and local militias were wildly denounced by the protesters.

Armed groups affiliated with GNA opened fire on the protesters, which led to several injured and one reported death.

A non-democratically elected government, GNA was formed as part of the 2015 UN-sponsored Libyan political agreement. Ever since then, it has failed to hold a control grip on western Libyan and became heavily undermined by lawless militias.

In 2019, GNA’s Al-Sarraj signed a controversial security agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The agreement paved the way for Ankara to send it’s troops as well as Syrian mercenaries to Tripoli in an effort to repel the military operation launched by the Libyan National Army (LNA) at that time.

Militias Respond with Shootings and Arrests

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

Popular protests in the capital, Tripoli, were met with the excessive use of force by security personnel loyal to the Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

Imad Abu Gharara, said on his Facebook page: “My son Abdul Salam was kidnapped yesterday with thousands of Tripoli youths while he was on his way to buy milk for his son, and we have not found him. Please pray until he returns safely.”

Sources from inside the capital confirmed that armed militias carried out a widespread campaign of arrests in the neighborhoods of the capital against the demonstrators demanding the departure of the reconciliation government.

The US embassy confirms its support for the protests in Tripoli

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

The American ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, expressed the United States’ support for the right of citizens in all parts of the country to participate in peaceful protests.

This came in light of the massive popular demonstrations taking place in the capital, Tripoli, against the government and the deterioration of the living conditions, the spread of corruption, the interruption of services such as electricity and water, and the long waiting in front of gas stations.

The US embassy said, in a statement today, Monday, that Ambassador Norland, in talks with a number of political officials in the Government of National Accord, expressed the United States’ concern about the acute shortage of electricity, especially in light of the increasing spread of the Corona pandemic, and also expressed his support for the right of citizens to All parts of the country to participate in the peaceful protests.

Norland urged the Libyan leaders to work together to meet the urgent needs of the people and seize this opportunity for the country.

The protests in the capital, Tripoli, who confirmed that they were fed up with the deterioration of services, the frequent cuts to electricity and water, and the long queues in front of fuel distribution stations, were met with live bullets fired by gunmen.

UNSMIL statement on protests in Tripoli on 23 August 2020

The rights to peaceful assembly, protest and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights and fall within Libya’s obligations under international human rights law. UNSMIL calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into the excessive use of force by pro-GNA security personnel in Tripoli yesterday which resulted in the injury of a number of protesters.

These demonstrations were motivated by frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity and water and a lack of service provision throughout the country.

Given the continuing immiseration of the Libyan people and the ever-present threat of renewed conflict, it is past time for Libyan leaders to put aside their differences and engage in a fully inclusive political dialogue as outlined by GNA President Sarraj and House of Representatives Speaker Saleh in their declarations last week.



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