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.

 

Russian, Turkish FMs meet for first time since ties repaired

Four ministers sacked from Libya's unity government

At least 70 killed in north of Syria's Aleppo

Iranians mark annual Quds Day

Egypt becoming departure country for migrants to Europe

Palestinian dies from tear gas fired by Israeli forces

Palestinian tries to stab Israeli in West Bank, shot dead

Ankara suicide attack mastermind killed

Istanbul airport attackers ‘planned hostage-taking’

Oil prices rise in Asia

US Navy probe finds leadership failings in Iran capture

Quartet report says Israel must urgently halt illegal settlement expansion

At least 70 killed in northern Aleppo clashes

Sisi praises Egyptian 'revolution' against Morsi

US-backed Syria rebels look to cut off ISIS from Iraq border

Egyptian Coptic priest shot dead in El-Arish

Iran sacks heads of four state banks over high pay

EU agrees to opens new chapter with Turkey on accession talks

Detained RSF Turkey representative released

Lebanese army says ISIS attacks foiled, 5 arrested

UN extends Darfur mission despite Sudan opposition

Air strikes kill 150 militants fleeing Fallujah

Turkey detains 13 over airport attack

Palestinian killed by Israeli troops after deadly attack

UN envoy seeks Syria peace talks’ resumption in July

Tunisian killed in Istanbul attack seeking to repatriate IS-linked son

Turkish forces kill 2 suspected IS jihadists at Syria border

Egypt president urges religious reforms to counter extremists

First aid convoy since 2012 enters two besieged Syria towns

Race to succeed Cameron begins after stunning Brexit vote

Yemen peace talks to take two-week break

Iraq secures $2.7 billion US military loan

ISIS pushes back Syria rebel offensive on Iraq route

Israel cabinet approves Turkey reconciliation deal

Turkey airport attack slams limping tourism industry

Putin lifts Turkey travel restrictions, orders trade 'normalised'

Fears for stranded Syrian refugees as Jordan blocks access

Bahrain activist back in jail despite worsening health

41 killed in Istanbul airport bomb, gun attacks

Witnesses recount Istanbul attack

Car bomb kills 10 in Kurdish-held Syria town

Ban to Israeli PM: Gaza blockade ‘collective punishment’

Alstom-led consortium awarded $2.88 billion Dubai metro extension

Democratic hopes fade away in Egypt

US-backed Syria rebels advance on key IS link to Iraq