The Libyan Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohamed Aoun confirmed that the Al-Zawiya oil refinery was not affected by the protests that took place in the city.
In a media statement, Aoun added that, “the refinery has not stopped working. It appears that barriers prevented employees from entering it, but some were allowed to enter and continue operations.”
“The earthen barriers also prevented fuel trucks from leaving the Brega depot, and an understanding has been reached to remove these barriers tomorrow, Friday,” according to his statement.
On Thursday, the city of Al-Zawiya, west of Tripoli, saw a wave of mass protests following the circulation of videos showing Libyan youth being tortured by African mercenaries at a militia headquarters.
The video, which has gone viral on social media, showed scenes of torture, beating, insults, and whipping of a number of Libyan youths.
There were reports that one of the victims was killed by the torturers, who have also reportedly kidnapped his brother. Meanwhile, a group of youths blocked the Coastal Road in response.
Angry protesters forced the closure of the valves of the Al-Zawiya Oil Refinery early this morning. They also gathered in front of the Al-Zawiya Security Directorate, demanding the dismissal of the Security Director, and the expulsion of armed vehicles from the area. As well as declaring civil disobedience, in protest against the spread of crime in the city, according to activists.
A social media activist said that what is happening in Al-Zawiya “is not new,” as the city has witnessed “a significant deterioration in the security situation.”
Another resident wondered how Libyan youth from the city have “become victims at the hands of African migrants who boast about their actions, and send videos to each other?” He called for “popular action to put an end to this farce.”
Meanwhile, others blamed the Security Directorate and the Al-Zawiya Municipal Council for the situation, in addition to the armed groups there.
They also called for “not politicizing the popular movement or linking it to any party,” stressing that this movement is for rectifying the situation, and to arrest the criminals involved in torture.”