By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 10 October 2013:
A tired but smiling Ali Zeidan climbed out of his car at the Prime Ministry building . . .[restrict]early this afternoon. Still without his pebble lens glasses, apparently lost or damaged when he was seized at the Corinthia hotel some ten hours before, he moved with two security men towards the building. Staff leaning from windows, joined ministers, congressmen, soldiers and bodyguards in applause and shouts of “Allah Ahkbar”.
Zeidan went inside for a photo-call with ministers from his government and members of the General National Congress. His arrival lanced the tension that had been building up during a hot one-and-a-half-hour wait between army guards and the expectant media. Soldiers had attempted to dragoon cameramen to a position where none could get a good shot of Zeidan’s car passing through the gate. Amidst angry protests from some pressmen, photographers quietly flowed back to their original position. This in turn infuriated the security people.
There was anger elsewhere from locals, who discovered that all the small surrounding streets had been completely blocked to traffic by some 40 army vehicles and they could no longer drive to their homes. The short tempers reflected a day in which rumour and tension had fed upon each other. The only people who did not appear to be taking their jobs very seriously, were the half dozen guards sent up onto the roof of the prime minister’s office.
When Zeidan’s convoy finally arrived with its escort of soldiers and security men, carried in at least a dozen vehicles protecting three limousines, the 100 guards quite outnumbered the 30-strong press pack. But at this point, the mood had changed. The general relief at the prime minister’s safe arrival was palpable.
Six of Zeidan’s bodyguards who followed their chief, not only looked red-eyed, unshaven, and exhausted but were seen to be still wearing their pyjamas with a mix of day clothing and stout boots.
Only photographers were allowed into record the symbolic reunion of the prime minister with his cabinet and GNC members. Reporters were told that no statements would be given. After the formal photo call, the tired Zeidan stood to receive a queue of greetings from senior army officers and fellow politicians. While he was probably thinking very much of sleep, the prime minister reportedly still had one more job to do after he and his convoy left the prime ministry – to drop into an opticians for a replacement pair of glasses. [/restrict]