On Sunday, hundreds of Libyans took to the streets in the capital, Tripoli, to protest against the corrupt Government of National Accord (GNA) and deteriorating living conditions in the country.
The protesters voiced their anger over what they called a “slow death” due to collapsing public services, corruption and economic pressures, before heading to central Tripoli’s Martyrs Square, where they were scattered by gunfire.
Angry at extended cuts to power as well as water, and long lines at petrol stations, the mostly young demonstrators marched in the streets of the city centre, chanting slogans such as “No to corruption!”
The demonstrators condemned the policies of Al-Sarraj that led to deteriorating state services.
A number of demonstrators also burned and tore pictures of members of the Presidency Council, most notably Al-Sarraj and Ahmed Maiteeq.
The demonstrators demanded putting an end to the prevailing corruption and called for holding real presidential and parliamentary elections, not just a reform of the Presidency Council.
Ignoring restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus, the protesters marched in front of the seat of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) before gathering in the Martyrs’ Square.
Libya, which sits atop Africa’s largest proven crude oil reserves, has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed the long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
The war-weary country is plagued by water shortages and power blackouts that disable air-conditioners in the searing summer heat.
The deplorable situation has been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, which has depressed global oil prices and spread in the country despite social distancing measures.
The protest comes just two days after the country’s warring rival administrations announced separately that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections.
On the other hand, the LNA spokesman Major General Ahmed al-Mismari dismissed Al-Sarraj’s ceasefire announcement as a ploy.
“The initiative that Sarraj signed is for media marketing,” Mismari said. “There is a military build-up and a transfer of equipment to target our forces in Sirte.”
Mismari made no reference to a parallel ceasefire call also issued on Friday by the head of Libya’s Parliament, Ageela Saleh.