By Libya Herald staff
Tripoli, 20 May 2014:
The streets of Tripoli were quiet today for the second day following Sunday’s violent clashes . . .[restrict]while many shops and businesses remained closed and residents stayed indoors. Most banks, however, seemed to be open, including branches of Gumhouria Bank.
According to the Ministry of Education, Tripoli schools remained open and students were sitting for exams. Most private schools were also open, though some private nurseries were closed. The University of Tripoli, which was closed yesterday, remained closed today. The British Council, closed yesterday, reopened for classes today.
Most embassies were open for business as usual today. The Swiss Embassy was conducting business as usual while keeping an eye on the situation. The British embassy was open, as was the Turkish embassy. A staff member at the Turkish Embassy told Libya Herald staff, “We have no intention of closing.” He said that the Turkish Consulate in Benghazi has only been closed temporarily until the situation in the city calms down.
The US embassy also remained open, with services to American citizens running as normal. Speaking by phone to Libya Herald staff, an American employee of the embassy said they have no immediate plans to evacuate, despite widespread social media reports that preparations were under way to evacuate embassy personnel if the situation continued to deteriorate.
Arab embassies were the clear exceptions. As reported yesterday, the Saudi Embassy has withdrawn its staff and temporarily shut its doors, as have the United Arab Emirates, Algerian and Egyptian Embassies. The last two closed before this week’s clashes, because of attacks or threats of attacks. The Jordanian Embassy, despite its ambassador being kidnapped and held for four weeks, stated it is committed to remaining open.
The Canadian Embassy, which was operating normally today, yesterday released a statement issued by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Deepak Obhrai:
“Canada strongly condemns the attacks carried out in Tripoli this weekend. We call on all parties to refrain from violence and to work together to de-escalate the situation and engage in a peaceful democratic process. We continue to support a peaceful political transition and encourage efforts to hold a national dialogue. The ongoing constitutional drafting process provides an opportunity for Libyans to peacefully address all problems. Canada continues to voice its support for Libya’s political transition. We urge the Libyan government to fulfil its commitment to a peaceful and democratic transition.”
Meanwhile, Tripoli International Airport experienced some disruptions today. This was, however, due to problems with the processing of passports and not related to security problems. Otherwise the airport was working today and with some exceptions flights were running as scheduled . [/restrict]