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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid