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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More