By Sami Zaptia.
London, 13 March 2016:
A planned Tripoli demonstration on Saturday proved to be a non-event as no more than a . . .[restrict]handful of brave participants turned out.
The demonstration was called for by the ‘’Greater Tripoli Locals and Residents Gathering’’ NGO on Friday under the banner ‘‘For the sake of the Nation – For the Sake of the Suffering Citizen – For the Sake of a Better Life’’.
The NGO said that the reasons for the demonstration was to ‘’express outrage at the situation in Libya ranging from scarcity of cash liquidity to the sharp rise in process of basic necessities as well as the deteriorating health situation in different state hospitals and other deplorable conditions in various service sectors affecting the lives of ordinary citizens’’.
They said that the demonstration would be a ‘’peaceful protest where slogans express the views of the participants’’.
The demonstration planned to start after the evening prayer in Algeria Square was specifically meant to be an apolitical event – avoiding the Libya Dawn-Dignity divisive politics.
However, it seems that the spirit of demonstrating that Tripolitanians had taken to with aplomb after the 2011 revolution seems to have, at least temporarily, evaporated. There were no more than a couple of a dozen brave demonstrators holding placards.
The most notable of these read ‘’Enough grabbing you have ruined the country’’, ‘’Anything but my kids’ bread’’, ‘’Where has all the liquidity disappeared to’’, ‘’The cry of the people, the cry of pain. A loaf of bread LD 0.25 a tray of eggs LD 7’’ and ‘’My kids are hungry. Where is the salary’’?
The attempted demonstration was indeed a novelty. There have been no spontaneous opposition demonstrations in Tripoli since the invasion of Tripoli by pro GNC militias in July 2014 which forced the legitimate government to flee to the eastern city of Beida.
This contrasts starkly with the regular demonstrations that often filled the whole of Martyr Square during the golden period of democracy and freedom of expression from the end of 2011 to summer 2014.
The pro-GNC Tripoli government, on the other hand, has orchestrated a number of demonstrations in Martyr Square since, but embarrassingly, these have been poorly attended despite having demonstrators bussed in from regional support bases.
Tripoli residents that Libya Herald spoke to said that people were too afraid to go out and freely demonstrate like the old days, fearing kidnapping by the de facto controllers of Tripoli. [/restrict]