By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab and Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 25 December 2013:
A 37-year athlete from Misrata has embarked on a 201-kilometre “peace” walk to Tripoli.
Waleed Abu Sala left Misrata yesterday morning to “prove that the road between the two cities was safe, contrary to what is said”.
His walk is a response to last month’s tragic events in Tripoli’s Gharghour district when 47 people died after gunman fired at demonstrators demanding that Misrata forces withdraw from the capital.
The day chosen for his departure, Independence Day, was deliberate, the aim being to emphasise Libya’s unity. The final destination too, Martyrs Square, is symbolic – again emphasising what draws Tripoli and Misrata together: the sacrifices during the revolution.
Speaking yesterday evening to the Libya Herald, Abu Sala said that he had just finished the first leg of his walk. “The time now is 5:30 pm and I have just arrived Zliten and there is an ambulance car with me to see if I need anything.”
A police communications technician, the father of five added that he wanted to show to the world in this his “first adventure” trip that everyone could walk freely anywhere without hassles or problems, despite what is being said now.
He added: “My trip has not been sponsored by any state institutions.”
He hopes the walk should take no more than four days. “I talked to a professional athlete who said that the trip would take six days, but I think I will have finished it within another two or tree days.
He said he has met a lot of people during his trip supporting him. So far, he added, he has stopped only for prayer, food and to change his trainers.
“This is my first public adventure” said Abu Sala, but he has ideas of other people joining him on future walks between towns and cities “to show their love for each other and for the nation and, of course, the peace that must unite Libya”.