By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 5 February 2013:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan opened yesterday’s press conference with a statement on the security situation.
With the second anniversary of the 17 February Revolution approaching and the fear that demonstrations against the government and GNC’s ineffectiveness or mass celebrations might be hijacked by troublemakers, the Prime Minister was keen to assure the public.
“I want to assure the Libyan people of safety and security despite all the rumours that they might be hearing. The security situation is good”, Zeidan added, standing alongside his Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi.
The rumours that Zeidan was referring to are mostly posts on social networks by some threatening to come out onto the streets on the 15 February and start a new Revolution.
These posts are taking advantage of earlier calls – mainly in Benghazi – to come out onto the streets and demonstrate in order to “correct the path of the Revolution”.
The correction of the path here means mainly, but not exclusively, objecting to the slow progress achieved by the GNC and the government in improving the lot of Libyans generally, but especially in the east.
It must be said that over the last week or so local councils, political parties, NGOs, etc, have been queuing up to condemn those who wish to hijack the anniversary celebrations. They have been keen to stress the right to demonstrate versus the need to not add to Libya’s insecurity by demonstrating and giving troublemakers a platform to cause disruption.
Spelling it out clearly, the Prime Minister went on to say that “there are those who want to cause disruption and disorder. The security forces will not give them the opportunity to disrupt. The government has taken serious decisions”, he stressed.
Regarding the right to peaceful demonstration, Zeidan was clear. “The law allows for peaceful demonstration within the new law organizing demonstrations. We do not want to suppress anyone. The right to demonstrate is guaranteed”.
“We have a security plan”, Zeidan emphasised. “Some parts of it were announced and some parts of it are unannounced”, he added, hinting that the government has taken some measures in the background to counter potential troublemakers.
“We are awaiting the GNC approval of the budget so that we can execute government policies” Zeidan added hinting of more security measures to come when his government receives a budget.
When challenged by the press for describing the security situation as “good”, Zeidan apologized for using the term if it was misleading. He stressed that he was using it “relatively” in view of Libya’s situation.
“If we do not have a capable army and police we cannot be effective”, Zeidan added possiblyy in a veiled appeal for funds from the GNC. “We don’t have a magic wand. We will put incentives so that the youth are encouraged to join up to the official security forces and so that we have strong security forces”.
“Some want it like Afghanistan or Somalia” in another veiled threat Zeidan added. That could happen “if we don’t have strong security”, he concluded.