By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 23 September 2013:
Confronted with growing numbers of people appropriating public land and building on it, the authorities . . .[restrict]appear to be trying to be both nice and tough at the same time while dealing with the problem.
Last week, the Agricultural Police issued a “polite notice” (that was the way it was put) telling Libyans that they were “kindly requested” not to buy, sell or trade in land belonging to the state ? which the Qaddafi regime had allowed to be used by individual citizens for agricultural use.
Those who had been granted the use of such land, the notice said, had no right to sell or dispose of it. “Whosoever violates these regulations will be held legal accountable”, it said, injecting a little toughness into their niceness.
They were “determined”, they said, to demolish all buildings erected on state land.
Days earlier, the Agriculture Police had indeed shown their other side, demolishing 11 houses allegedly built illegally at a camp in the Swani district of south Tripoli. According to one report, they did not even allow the occupants time to collect their personal belongings or furniture from the houses.
Some 32 people who tried to prevent the buildings being demolished, several of them armed, were arrested and their weapons confiscated pending legal proceedings against them, according to an Agriculture Police official.
The Agriculture Police are a hangover from the Qaddafi regime which, in true Orwellian fashion, set up a number of forces to control all aspects of society. One of the Agricultural Police jobs was to prosecute anyone who cut down a tree in Tripoli’s Green Belt.
There was also the Electricity Police, looking for anyone who might have connected to power lines and taking electricity illegally. It is not known if they arrested anyone who had not paid their bills on time.
There were no specific Thought Police. The job was done by the entire system. [/restrict]