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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid