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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
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