By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 19 February 2013:
The Egyptian border crossing, closed for five days by the government as a security measure during . . .[restrict]the second anniversary celebrations of the 17 February revolution, was re-opened again today, Tuesday, but is now being blocked by Egyptians protesting at new Libyan visa regulations. According to reports from the Egyptian border town of Sollum, Egyptians are preventing Libyans from entering Egypt and threaten to continue their blockade until new visa rules, issued today, are revoked.
According to Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, the protestors are also stopping goods vehicles from crossing the border in either direction. It reports that over 800 vehicles on the Egyptian side were held up this afternoon trying to entering Libya as a result of the protests.
It is not clear, however, if the high number of vehicles is a backlog as a result of the five-day closure. There was already a build-up of traffic on the Egyptian side of the border last Thursday after Libya stopped passengers and vehicles entering the country — prompting Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials to ask Libya to reopen it.
The border was open during the five days for traffic leaving Libya for Egypt.
On the other side of the country, traffic is now moving normally across the Tunisian border crossing at Ras Jadir. It was reopened last night after also being closed for five days, according to an official at the Ministry of Interior.
The head of the Ras Jadir crossing, Colonel Fathi Tayeb, was quoted by the Libyan news agency LANA saying today that passengers and goods were transiting without problem since last night and that there was no problem with security.
The Wazen-Dahiba southern Tunisian border crossing was also reported to be operating normally after being reopened on Monday.
Elsewhere in the country security has been visibly wound down now that the celebrations are over. Between the capital and Tripoli international airport today, Tuesday, there were only two checkpoints compared to several in previous days, and both were busy simply waving traffic through. [/restrict]