First Published: 2013-02-04

 

Libyan new rulers fear second revolution against ‘revolution’

 

New rulers are under attack for lack of reforms, face protests on February 15 being touted by some as ‘second revolution’.

 

Middle East Online

By Youssef Ba – TRIPOLI

Libyans: Months after Gathafi fall, there is no change

Two years after the start of the uprising that ousted Moamer Gathafi, Libya's new rulers are under attack for lack of reforms and face protests on February 15 being touted by some as a "second revolution".

Faced with growing rumblings in the street, the authorities have put security forces on high alert ahead of the protests as well as celebrations two days later marking the second anniversary of the "February 17 Revolution" that led to Gathafi's ouster and being killed in October 2011.

Demands by opposition groups range from a ban on officials of the former regime from holding public office to the disbandment of armed militias and a reform of the higher education system.

Chants at protests are increasingly resembling those staged during the uprising against Gathafi: "The people demand the fall of the (new) regime."

A leaflet circulated in Tripoli calls for a "popular revolt" and a civil disobedience movement to bring down the regime.

It encourages Libyans to stock up with food and fuel in anticipation of what it says will be a complete shutdown of the country following the February 15 protests.

It is unclear who is behind the leaflet and the calls for protests but Libyan officials and several organisations, including Islamic groups, accuse remnants of the former regime of fomenting protests to "sow disorder and instability".

In Libya's eastern city of Benghazi -- cradle of the anti-Gathafi rebellion -- the calls have been relayed on social networks by several groups backed by supporters of federalism and various civil society groups.

"The calls to demonstrate are justified because of several accumulated problems, such as inflation, the high cost of living and high unemployment among the youth," Mohamed al-Mufti, a former political prisoner under Gathafi's regime, said.

"This movement is also politically motivated given their demands for federalism and the challenges posed to the decisions and choices of the assembly and the government."

Zahia Attia, a political activist, said he "would stage a sit-in and organise peaceful protest marches to denounce the national assembly for its failure to make progress on issues like national reconciliation, allocation of resources ... and drafting of a constitution."

The new Libyan authorities, meanwhile, are trying to learn from incidents in neighbouring Egypt, where deadly riots erupted last month around celebrations there marking second anniversary of the start of the revolution that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

Libyan authorities have held several meetings to organise festivities planned for February 17 and to step up security ahead of the February 15 demonstrations.

Libya's Interior Minister Ashur Shwayel expressed his fears "that the protests of February 15 may not be peaceful in nature," but insisted that "every citizen had a right to express his political opinion".

Libya's mufti, the highest religious authority, has also urged that demonstrations be held in a peaceful manner.

Amor Bushala, a member of an organisation of civil groups, said his organisation would participate in February 15 demonstrations "only if they are peaceful."

"Appeals must focus on correcting the process of revolution and not challenge the national assembly or the government which are legitimate institutions," he said.

Users of social networks such as Facebook have resisted calls to protest against the government and national assembly, insisting that "these institutions are legitimate and there is no reason to dispute them."

Hadj Ahmed Muldi, a computer technician, however said more and Libyans were becoming excited by the calls for protest.

"Sixteen months after the fall of Gathafi, there is no change and (the new) government has failed to establish security or restore the authority of the state," lamented the 54-year-old resident of Tripoli.

 

Serious challenges for Arab leaders in Amman

US-backed fighters battle IS near north Syria town

Iraq investigates Mosul civilian deaths

Iran to symbolically sanction 15 US companies

Egypt’s dwindling Jews struggle to maintain heritage

Germany’s Turks cast early ballots for Erdogan referendum

German court convicts Pakistani of spying for Iran

Qatar to invest £5bn in UK within five years

'Kill Erdogan' banner probed in Switzerland, Turkey

Arab League chief urges resolution to Syria conflict

Israel arrests 22 ultra-Orthodox sex offenders

Syrian forces pause offensive on IS-held dam for repairs

Dubai's Emaar Malls offers $800m to buy Souq.com

Iraq launches fresh Mosul Old City advance

Hamas partially reopens Beit Hanoun crossing

In Algeria, everyone wants to be MP, few likely to vote

Yemeni rebel supporters flood streets on conflict’s anniversary

Syria fighting damages IS-held dam posing rising water risk

Iran to appeal seizure of 9/11 compensation money

Hamas shuts Gaza crossing after assassination of official

Deep concern as Israeli laws entrench the occupation

Turkey’s Kurds could sway tight referendum vote

Al-Qaeda, on the rise again, hits Assad where it hurts

US and allies talk of post-ISIS future, but have no plan

Israel’s air strike on Syria spooks Middle East

Gunmen kill Hamas official in Gaza

Separate Syria air strikes kill at least 32

UN says Israel has ignored resolution on illegal settlements

Veteran politician says Turkey referendum a 'test' for Kurds

More Algerian women in work, but husbands control wages

Beirut university settles US lawsuit over Hezbollah

1.1 million weekend travellers from Dubai hit by laptop ban

Shiite Lebanese women endure painful custody battles

Russia, China seek Iraq chemical weapons probe

Besieged Syrians struggle with dwindling dialysis supplies

Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels

Syria says peace talks must first focus on 'terrorism'

12 Syrian refugees dead after boat sinks off Turkey coast

Mosul displaced head into unknown

As war keeps them away, Yemen children dream of school

Ousted Egyptian president Mubarak freed from detention

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged

Israel, US fail to reach settlement agreement

Yemen rebel missile kills Saudi soldier

Turkish FM in Switzerland amid rising tensions with Europe