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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid