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.

 

Dialogue remains distant as Arabs vow to defeat Iran 'puppet' in Yemen

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks close in on deal

Saudi police officers wounded in Riyadh drive-by shooting

World leaders show solidarity with Tunisia in march against extremism

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen

Kerry presses Iran on nuclear deal before deadline

Somali pirates seize Iranian fishing vessel

Borse Dubai sells big stake in London Stock Exchange

Can Arabs form joint military force?

Libya rivals discuss UN-backed peace proposals

French President to join 'anti-terror' march in Tunis

Sisi underscores Egypt’s rights to tap Nile water

US-led coalition aircraft bomb Tikrit

Saudi warplanes strike Yemen rebels in Sanaa

Netanyahu to form Israel new government after shock victory

Turkey military responds to Kurdish attacks in southeast

Leaders see horror of air crash as investigators step up probe

Fistfight in Iraqi Kurdish parliament

Syria rebels seize ancient town of Busra Sham

UN reveals plethora of abuses against activists in Libya

IS attack kills 5 militia fighters in Libya city of Sirte

Yemen President ‘in safety’ as rebel forces advance

US considering launching air strikes on Tikrit

Yemen Huthis seizes key airbase near Aden

'Feminist' policy costing dear to Sweden

Obama says row with Netanyahu ‘substantive’

Tunisia honours victims of deadly attack on national museum

Roadside bomb kills two Egypt soldiers in restive Sinai

‘Islamic State’ woos Syria children with money: More than 400 recruited in 2015 alone