last update Jan. 25, 2012
I haven't been trying to follow the news out of Libya closely, but I just saw a dispatch in the Dec. 27 news page at the Libya S.O.S. site about new protests in Benghazi against the NTC government. Doing a news search, I find that there were huge protests reported in Benghazi in mid-December anyway, demanding the resignation of NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel-Jalil. I'm not sure yet whether the Western news is being hugely censored and manipulated here, if the S.O.S. is a little, er... over-informed, or if both types of protests have been happening at different times.
Solidarity with Tripoli
The top, or last, entry on the S.O.S. dispatch, apparently a summary, reads "22h/ BENGHAZI - People of Benghazi in solidarity with the people of Tripoli , raising the pace of protests until the Jalil 's government falls, and him and other puppets go back to the West." From the usual tone of the site, "the people of Tripoli" sounds like Gaddafi loyalists unhappy with their recent "liberation." And it has Benghazi protests, not Tripoli ones showing support for that. No sources are given, but a photo (uncredited) is attached, presumably as evidence. For anyone who can read the sign or place the photo in time or space, here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhO3Wu10gvk" The source here is a videoof people who do seem agitated over some damage, and are shouting.Are these thesame green solidarity protesters implied in the later entry? For those who can understand what they're saying:
And earlier yet, the protesters were making their own offensives.
"09h/ BENGHAZI - Demonstrators are breaking into the so-called local Council of Benghazi, and surrounding its members, which resulted in Bboshna suspending the membership of each of employees of the local council, so as not to be able to implement any demonstrator's demands through them."
Previous days' dispatches seem to give more on the protesters and how they got started, citing a wave of them in virtually every Libyan city in recent days, all apparently demanding a return to the previous green system.
But I had to see what the mainstream sources, who do give more details and sources, are saying. It's roughly the opposite. A Google News search seems to unearth nothing about pro-Gaddafi/Jamahiriya protests anywhere in December until now. But it does have nods to some timid demonstrations in Tripoli against armed militias still freely roaming the city, and quite a fair amount about multiple days of rowdier protest in Benghazi.
For one thing, the demonstrators were reportedly mad at the uncertainty over whether Benghazi would be the "economic capitol" of Libya. They quickly recieved assurances from Tripoli that, whatever makes the most actual sense, they will be that. And they took offense to statements by Abdel-Jalil about pardoning (or perhaps "forgiving") pro-Gaddafi fighters in the name of reconciliation and/or avoiding future violence.
And they were fumed about the retention of one single Gaddafi-era official, the NTC's finance minister Taher Sharkas, appointed "by Gaddafi" (by the government at the time) on August 18, as rebels closed in on the capitol itself. Anyone with any history deeper than that was already well outside the bounds of employment. That this one last-minute appointee was allowed to stay on was a major scandal that had people demanding Abdel-Jalil's ouster. Not encouraging.
Most specifically, as Rami al-Shaheibi reported for AP on Sharkas' Christmas resignation, "the government has said it is open to some reconciliation with former regime officials, but protesters are mostly opposed." As AFP reported, Dec 12 "The people want another revolution!" chanted the crowds as they waved Libya's new flag." It's a powerful drug. I didn't imagine they'd be happy with the one hit they were allowed.
By this, the masses have spoken, and want no reconciliation, so peaceful merging of all remaining Libyans. Grudges and exclusion are to rule the day, the sore winners say, and what else to do with the people not embraced? Lock them all up? make them "go away?" Leave them at liberty to launch an insurgency?
I want to hear more now about these more sane, inspirational, perhaps excessively bold, green Libyan protests. I do hope they're happening, and they force at least some kind of rational compromise. Libya needs one that doesn't insult the intelligence and dignity of those who know how massively their country was just screwed. I fear it's not possible with what both sides have been left with, and Libya faces a prolonged dark age. Whether the darkness is carried only in the hearts of the defeated green masses like it is now, or in the violence they inflict and absorb trying to right things, only time will tell.
’PRO-GADDAFI PROTESTS’ AND ’REBEL ANTI-NTC PROTESTS’ SHAKING LIBYA AT THE SAME TIME
Leader of the military local council of Tripoli resigned due to the mass demonstrations against him on Monday. Meanwhile, rebel protesters want a "course correction" of the Revolution, by pressuring officials of the city in order to meet their demands.Nothing in the news on military council resignations since al-Madhi Hatari stepped down to return to Ireland or, actually, to Syria. More protests are reported in Tripoli and Tarhunah, and another image, at right. Marches are being led by a man named Arafat, it's said. In Tarhouna, protests are escalating, the S.O.S. reports.
In respect of the events in Tarhunah, a witness from the city, said in a telephone conversation with the "Arabs today," that after a clashes broke out, angry demonstrators burned the building of local radio in the city and blew up a vehicle of the Supreme Security Committee, and siezed a range of weapons and three four-wheel vehicles.Update Jan 25:
The source, who preferred not to be named, said that head of the security committee was injured as a result of hostilities between the NTC battalion and pro-Gaddafi protesters, result was that a number of fighters from NTC battalion called "loyal Tarhunah" got killed.
Also, an armed group of unsatisfied Pro-Gaddafi citizents attacked the headquarters of the local rebel military council in the Sakra, city of Sabha, with RPGs mortars, at least on person was killed.
Deputy head of Libya's NTC quits after protests
Oliver Holmes, Reuters, Jan. 22, reports on fiercer protests yet in Benghazi.
The deputy head of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) said on Sunday he was resigning after a series of protests against the new government which the country's leader warned could drag Libya into a "bottomless pit".
Late on Saturday, a crowd demanding the government's resignation forced their way into the NTC's local headquarters in Benghazi while the NTC chief was inside, in the most serious show of anger at the authorities since Gaddafi's ouster.
The location of the protests is particularly galling for the NTC. Benghazi, in eastern Libya, was the birthplace of the revolt against Gaddafi's rule and the site of the NTC's headquarters during the revolt.
The NTC was formed in the early days of the revolt against Gaddafi from a hastily-assembled group of lawyers, government officials who defected, Muslim clerics, tribal leaders and civil society activists.The complaints still include too many people with previous government service back when Gaddafi was the figurehead, but they're showing more savvy as well, it seems.
At the time, Gaddafi's troops were using automatic weapons to fire on protests in Benghazi and elsewhere [wrong], and there was little time to vet the members [if premised on the first, wrong].
But nearly six months on from the moment the rebellion took control of the capital Tripoli, Libyans are started to question the council's legitimacy.
"We hoped for security, peace and transparency. We have seen the opposite," said Miftah Al-Rabia, 28, who was standing outside the NTC's Benghazi headquarters on Sunday with a group of protesters.Selling oil = selling out. We always knew they'd be good at that and little else.
"We still don't know who exactly is in the NTC. There is no transparency," said Al-Rabia, a protester standing outside the building with a group of about 30 other men.
Another protester, 24-year-old Mohammed Mahmoud, said he fought against Gaddafi during the revolt and wounded his shoulder and hand.
"We fought on the front line and received injuries but we did not see the NTC with us," he said. "I have one single question: Why has the NTC failed at everything except selling oil? We want to correct the path of the revolution."
The government response confirms that the protesters are getting it right. Ghoga complained that, as Holmes put it,"the national consensus [wrong] that helped the country rise up and end Gaddafi's 42-year rule had not lasted into peace-time, giving way to what he [Ghoga] called an atmosphere of hatred." He means hatred of the NTC and for himself, having been jostled bodily by a mob shortly before this. Back when the hate was safely directed only at the Gaddafi government and its millions of supporters, it was nothing but useful and encouraged. For his part, Mr. Abdel-Jalil said, as mobs threatened a sitting government of Libya for the second time in a year, suddenly "there is something behind these protests that is not for the good of the country." Chances are then it is for the good of the country and I encourage more of the same.