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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid