News / Africa

Libyan Resistance Fighters Make Presence Known in Tripoli

In this picture sent secretly to a VOA e-mail account, Libyan anti-government activists sew the flag of the revolution.  The banner reads, 'We will never forget our martyrs'
In this picture sent secretly to a VOA e-mail account, Libyan anti-government activists sew the flag of the revolution. The banner reads, 'We will never forget our martyrs'

A senior United Nations official is warning that Libya is a ticking time bomb and that life-saving assistance is needed, especially in the western part of the country.  Little is known about what is happening in Tripoli, the nation's capital and Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold.  To find out, VOA's Carolyn Presutti spoke to two opposition leaders - one in Tripoli, secretly via Skype, the other from Benghazi - as she shows us the daring actions activists take in Tripoli to advance their cause.   

Libyan rebel troops, training in Benghazi, brazen enough at night to burn an effigy of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and emboldened by day to protest.

The rebels have such a tight control on Benghazi that they consider it their capital. And their recent capture of Misrata's airport gives them a fresh cache of arms.

But, that is not the case in Tripoli, the nation's capital. There, the government controls the people, the media, the message.  These pro-Gadhafi demonstrations and government-led media tours are what the world sees of Tripoli.  No opposition activity.  Until now.

In the pictures sent secretly to a VOA e-mail account, these anti-government activists are sewing the flag of the revolution.  The banner reads, “We will never forget our martyrs.”  They are driving to show where it was hung.  Just past the telecommunications center, above a busy overpass in Tripoli.

“They are very brave.  They’re very, very brave,” said Waheed Burshan, an opposition leader in Benghazi who recently visited Washington. He went to junior high school along this street in Tripoli, but had never seen this video until we played it for him.

“This is the soul of the whole resistance.  Sometimes it takes more courage to do this than to actually take arms,” said Burshan.

It’s not the first time.  These activists have placed their flag in at least three prominent locations in Tripoli over the last three weeks. Their leader describes his group as peaceful, carrying out civil disobedience against Libyan officials.  VOA spoke with him via Skype.

“We highlight deficiencies in security, we highlight the fact that despite neighborhoods being under lockdown, you can go out and do something.  They are not invincible,” said the opposition leader.

Some analysts say this type of protest and its frequency encourages the opposition.  Although, Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress says the rebels need to be better organized.

“Some countries have offered additional support to Libyan rebels and they are finding, that in trying to offer that support, there’s no cohesion there. That creates a problem for the end game politically,” he said.

But, cohesion is tough in Tripoli.  The civil disobedience leader sent us the video of gasoline lines.  

The city is running out of fuel and movements are watched by the government. “Mobile phones are heavily monitored. “The Internet is banned. The use of satellite phones is highly illegal. That’s what makes it so difficult to organize ourselves,” he said.

NATO is pounding Tripoli with airstrikes.  With Moammar Gadhafi still in strict control, analysts say the key to freedom is in Libya's capital.  And they say, “As Tripoli goes, so goes the nation.”  


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid