Popular protests over power cuts and political crisis in Libya

Several large demonstrations took place on Friday in multiple Libyan cities due to the deteriorating living conditions in the country, the lack of basic services, and the current political stalemate.

Demonstrators carried banners denouncing the deteriorating living conditions in Libya as a result of the political battles that Libya has been witnessing since the fall of former president Muammar Gaddafi.

In Tripoli, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Martyrs’ Square (formerly Green Square) demanding food supplies and an end to the electricity crisis that has worsened in the country after the country recorded power outages lasting more than 15 hours a day.

Demonstrators also demanded the departure of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh — Interim Prime Minister of the outgoing Government of National Unity and the State Council — accusing him of thwarting the political process in the country by implementing the Muslim Brotherhood’s plans and thwarting the parliamentary and presidential elections.

Furthermore, they demanded that the Presidential Council be granted full powers, that a state of emergency be declared, that an explanation be provided for the electricity crisis, and that the decision to lift fuel subsidies be cancelled.

Pro-Dbeibeh militias tried to break up the demonstrations, however, they failed, with the protesters calling for an open sit-in to break the current political deadlock.

The city of Tobruk in eastern Libya also witnessed demonstrations of a predominantly political nature, with some accusing remnants of the former regime and supporters of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi of stirring up protests.

The demonstrators gathered in front of the House of Representatives. Initially, the chants were for improving the lives of citizens and supporting them in facing the food crisis that the world is experiencing. However, some people turned it into political protests that attacked members of the House, eventually attempting to storm it and set it on fire.

For her part, the UN Secretary-General’s Adviser on Libya, Stephanie Williams, said on Saturday that the right of the Libyan people to peaceful protest must be respected and protected, while rejecting riots and sabotage.

She also called on Libyan authorities to exercise restraint in the face of these protests.

“It is absolutely essential that all remain calm, that the Libyan leadership act responsibly towards protests, and that all exercise restraint.”