By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 27 August:
– Tripoli Local Council . . .[restrict]is ‘unable to protect the heritage of Libya’.
The leader of Tripoli Local Council (TLC) admitted in total resignation yesterday that the TLC is ‘unable to protect the heritage of Libya’.
Sadat al-Badri, head of the TLC, looking across the armed members of the Supreme Security Committee (SSC) standing on the opposite side of the almost destroyed mosque went on to add, ‘but we are not here to pick a fight’, as tempers frayed and the two opposing groups almost came to blows on more than one occasion.
The peaceful demonstration of activists and NGO’s had started at noon at Algeria square and moved on to the Sha’ab mosque opposite the Mahari-Radisson hotel.
As the demonstrators walked past the Gazelle fountain, they wondered out loud whether it would still be there tomorrow as rumours circulated that it is one of the Salafists’ next targets.
The operators of the heavy equipment stopped their work immediately upon the arrival of the demonstrators who included a number of women. The guarding security forces also chose not to intervene, withdrawing to the other side of the road and keeping a watching brief.
‘The Libyan people went out to demonstrate peacefully on 17th February and force was used against them. And now force is being used against us again here in Tripoli’.
‘We need our own boys from Tripoli to protect our city Tripoli’
‘Tripoli needs its own specific force – a new body – to protect it. But these…let’s say mixture of people are unknown. Their loyalties are unknown. We need our own boys from Tripoli to protect our city Tripoli’, Sadat al-Badri implored.
‘We do not want to move from one dictatorship to another’
The angry al-Badri explained that as he spoke representatives of the TLC were meeting the Under Secretary of the Interior Omar Khadrawi and that the message they were delivering was unequivocal: ’Either stop this action or if you do not, it means that you are part of it. We do not want to move from one dictatorship to another’, concluded the TLC head.
Civil Society condemn the actions
Meanwhile, civil society organizations and NGOs have been lining up to condemn the actions. Leading NGO, the Free Generation Movement (FGM), for example, said in its press release that it ‘would like to make clear and public its absolute condemnation and disgust over the extra judicial destruction of mosques and graves around Libya, most recently in the Sha’ab District of Tripoli’.
It went on to say that ‘these acts of lawlessness only help to create a “jungle law” scenario in our country and must stop immediately’.
FGM welcome the public condemnation of this act by Dar Al Iftaa (Libya’s highest religious authority) and by the President of the General National Congress Mohamed Al Magariaf and the deputy Prime Minister of the Transitional Governement , Mustafa Abushagur.
In conclusion, it went on to ‘call upon these parties to take tangible and credible measures to prevent a recurrence of this lawlessness and to bring to account those who act outside of the law’. [/restrict]