By Libya Herald staff.
Benghazi, 13 February 2015:
Several hundred demonstrators gathered in Benghazi today demanding the creation of a military council to . . .[restrict]be headed by General Khalifa Hafter. In the first such event in the city’s Kish Square for some time, they also demanded the government of Abdullah Al-Thinni resign and that Libya break diplomatic relations with Turkey and Qatar.
Both have been accused of supporting Libya Dawn. In a sign of growing anger with the West, demonstrators in Benghazi also called for Libya to sever relations with the US and UK accusing them of trying to destabilise the country.
Numbers in the square were modest, put at around 400.
In what was seen as a co-ordinated move by Hafter supporters, there were similar demonstrations in Beida and Tobruk as well.
Meanwhile in Tripoli, the president of the continuing General National Congress, Nuri Abu Sahmain, issued a letter thanking civil society organisations for demonstrating their support for the GNC and calling on them to continue to do so.
The Cyrenaica protests indicate that the growing rift between Hafter and Thinni has not been bridged despite efforts by House of Representatives’ President Ageela Saleh Gwaider.
In the HoR itself, it estimated that around 40 members support Hafter and want Thinni to go, but they remain a minority. The majority want to keep Thinni, at least for the time being, despite complaints that the government is weak. Gwaider himself is reported to be sympathetic to Hafter but likewise accepts that this is not the time to change administrations.
The head of the HoR was in Beida this week trying to patch up differences between the prime minister and the general. The meeting resulted in what is being viewed as a compromise – the decision to sack Interior Minister Omar Sinki. The latter has publicly attacked Hafter, calling him would-be dictator.
However, Sinki has refused to go, claiming that only the HoR can sack, him – a claim that the House, including those opposed to him, now apparently agrees with. [/restrict]