News / Africa

    Protests Break Out in Libya

    Libyan pro-government supporters hold portraits of leader Moammar Gadhafi during a gathering in Tripoli, February 16, 2011
    Libyan pro-government supporters hold portraits of leader Moammar Gadhafi during a gathering in Tripoli, February 16, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Hundreds of pro-government demonstrators marched and chanted in the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli and the coastal port city of Benghaz. The demonstrations follow reports in the Libyan press of disturbances by anti-government protesters Tuesday in Benghazi.

    Libyan government TV showed large crowds of mostly young supporters of Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.  Many were carrying banners, signs and portraits of the colonel, as they chanted slogans in his favor.  The TV indicated the demonstrations were taking place all across the country.

    Supporters at one large rally denounced Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV, calling it "despicable."  The Libyan press has attacked al-Jazeera TV in recent weeks for what it calls "biased coverage" during popular demonstrations that toppled the veteran rulers of both Tunisia and Egypt.

    Many of the teenage demonstrators could be seen in the Libyan TV images surrounded by older men leading the chants and encouraging the young men to clap and shout.  In one clip, a middle-aged man read a statement in support of Libyan leader Mr. Gadhafi.

    He says the people of the Libyan People’s Republic, responding to the recent actions of spies and mercenaries, as well as reports in unreliable media organs, express our love. support and dedication.  He says the demonstrators are soldiers for Mr. Gadhafi and he is their leader for life.  He adds that the people will use an iron fist to strike the spies and mercenaries trying to destroy the country.

    The pro-government demonstrations follow clashes Tuesday in Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi, in which at least several-dozen people were injured.  Libyan newspapers denounced the protests, which a Facebook support group called a "Day of Anger" against the government.

    Demonstrators could be seen clashing with police in several videos on YouTube.  Videos of other alleged anti-government demonstrations in smaller Libyan cities are also posted on YouTube.

    North Africa expert at the Paris Institute for Political Studies (Institut d’etudes politiques de Paris), Luis Martinez, says that anti-government protests take place in Libya regularly, but are often not reported by the media.

    He notes there have been serious social problems in Benghazi and Tripoli resulting in protests during the past 10 years.  He adds that such protests take on a new dimension in light of recent popular unprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

    Middle East Studies Program Director Fouad Ajami, of the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, recently told VOA he thinks Mr. Gadhafi will use whatever force it takes to suppress any popular revolt.

    Martinez concurs with Ajami that events in Libya will probably not snowball into mass protests as they did in Egypt, because the Libyan Army is what he describes as "marginalized' in comparison to two other key forces, the Revolutionary Guard and the Revolutionary Committees.  But he says such a conflict would be "extremely violent" if it were to break out, because the army and the Revolutionary Guard are well-armed.  

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora