Protests in Tripoli against power shortage as GECOL warns of total shutdown within days

By Moutaz Mathi.

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Protestors burn tyres in Gargaresh (Photo: Social media)

Tripoli, 16 June 2016:

Tempers are rising in Tripoli along with the temperature, with residents in several areas of the city taking to the streets and burning tyres in protest against ever lengthening power cuts.

Angry protests against the excessive duration of the outages started a couple of days ago in the Driebi and Bab Ben Ghashir districts. But by last night they had extended to Gargaresh, Siyahiya, Ghut Shaal, Ras Hassan, and Fornaj. In some areas yesterday, the power was off for 12 hours, then back on for one hour and then off again for the rest of the day. A few districts, such as Ghut Shaal and Ain Zara had no electrcity all day.

Fuious teenageers and young boys have been setting fires to tyres in the streets causing major problems for traffic. The Libya Herald had tried to approach to some of them at the Sabha traffic lights, near the Fornaj roundabout, but they were in no mood to talk.

The atmosphere in the capital least night was misrable and tense as temperatures were remained in the lower 40s, making conditions miserable in so many of the modern buildings, built with lowere ceilings and for air conditioning.

“If the situation remains like this, there are going to be a lot more protests across Tripoli in the next few days,” Mohamed Jabu, from Ain Zara Municipal Council, told this paper.

A source at the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) exlained that there were no practical solutions available to reduce the outages. The only option at present was share the current powe loads evenly among the various areas in the west. But this was not possible at the moment since people in towns neighbouring Tripoli were refusing to share of the pain of being without power.

“I believe the network will not bear this much longer and we are again warning that Tripoli might fall into a complete darkness within days.”

The situation is fueling resentment not only towards the local authorities but also to those places that have maintained the electricity supply by threateing GECOL. Two nights ago, protesters in Ras Hassan tried ago to storm Al-Madar mobile company in order to cut communications to the towns that are refusing to share the power outages.

The temperature in Tripoli today is expected to hit a high of 44°C.

Significantly lower temperatures are forecast for the following week.

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