Protesters gathered on Tuesday evening, in front of the house of the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj. They decried the deteriorating living conditions, corruption, and heavy security response to the demonstrations.
Security forces opened fire, injuring one, as protests took place against extended shortages of power, water, and fuel in the oil-rich North African country.
Sources confirmed widespread arbitrary arrests of protesters during the overnight demonstrations.
The demonstrations continued even after Al-Sarraj sought to appease protesters on Monday by announcing a cabinet reshuffle. During his speech, he also backed Libyans’ “legitimate right” to protest, and said he was determined to fight corruption.
On Monday, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the excessive use of force by security personnel.
“These demonstrations were motivated by frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity, water, and a lack of service provision throughout the country,” a statement by UNSMIL said.
Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising which led to the toppling and killing of Muammar Gaddafi. The country is plagued by water shortages and power blackouts, especially during the searing summer heat. The situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has depressed global oil prices and spread rapidly throughout the country.
The protests began days after the country’s warring rival administrations announced a ceasefire agreement and national elections.