By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 5 March 2013:
The GNC chamber, housed in what used to be the Rixos/Ghabet al Naser (al Naser or Victory Woods) Conference Centre has finally been vacated by about 30-odd squatting war amputees.
An Audit Report of the damage was conducted prior to the GNC members reoccupying the complex at about 10 am this morning. The GNC had finally fledthis week to the Tajura-based Industrial Research Centre when it could not even hold its meetings in the adjoining Rixos hotel conference rooms.
An attempt to forcibly evict the amputees had failed miserably Sunday morning. An agreement was finally reached last night with the war amputees brokered by the local Ben Ghasheer council, where the GNC complex is located and others. It is also reported that the amputees had received threats from civilians who threatened to use ‘people’ power to go in and forcibly evict them – at any cost.
It was also, apparently, made clear to the squatters that they had lost all national sympathy – sympathy that they had at the start of their squatting campaign and that they had counted on and exploited. It was made clear to them that whilst they could twist the arm of the official state organs, they could not do the same to the general public. A general public that they could not count on to refrain from causing them physical harm.
The general public had also lost sympathy with the amputees when the squatters fired on and attempted to detonate a home-made gelatin grenade at the official state forces that had tried to evict them early at dawn on Sunday. In the process, four members of the official forces were injured, one seriously and still in intensive care.
The amputees also lost national public sympathy when word leaked out – and finally confirmed at Sunday’s press conference – that they were constantly raising their demands. They were offered salaries from LD 3-6,000, housing, a pilgrimage visit to Mecca for all their family, a car as well as treatment abroad – when and if any advanced nation would be prepared to issue them a visa.
The average Libyan could only dream of this kind of free package, and with many Libyans waiting patiently for the state to fulfil their demands, the amputees’s refusal to accept these offers were viewed suspiciously.
It is also thought that the photos of the damage inflicted by the amputees to the GNC chamber and the fact that they had called in reinforcements prior to the attempted dawn raid to evict them also raised question marks.
Conspiracy theorists felt that the amputees’ refusal to accept all offers made to them , their continued delay and desire simply to occupy the GNC chamber and delay the passage of crucial legislation such as the budget and the Political Isolation law, their prior knowledge of the dawn raid – a raid the Tripoli Security Directorate said at Sunday’s press conference was kept a secret until the last minute – even to security personnel – all pointed to the possibility of dark hands in the background manipulating them.
The incident and the one month hijacking of the Congress building by just 30 amputees shows how small groups are able to blackmail the new Libyan state into giving-in to their sometimes unreasonable demands – sometimes at the greater cost to the nation.
It is a phenomenon that the new Libyan state has not worked out a strategy how to deal with it and a strategy that many hot headed armed youth could seek to replicate – unless the state comes up with a deterrent.
One such option is for the GNC to swallow its pride and allow the executive – the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Defence to defend the building. Currently, the GNC is insisting that its own security units – part of the legislature and not the executive – are responsible for its security. A responsibility that they have totally failed to dispatch.