By Reem Tombookti.
Tripoli, 11 June 2013:
Students at the University of Tripoli carried out their repeated threats this morning and went on . . .[restrict]strike over poor security arrangements on campus.
The students had threatened earlier this month to take action if the government did not make an effective move to end to recurrent security breaches and attacks on students.
“We don’t want talk. Action is what we need to see,” Hafeth El-Qabroon, the students’ leader at the Engineering Faculty, told the Libya Herald today. “In the past two weeks alone there have been seven registered reports of harassment of female students. One wonders how many other cases we don’t know about. There must be many cases where the girls are not talking [because of humiliation]. This has been going on for too long.” he also added.
There also have been several shooting incidents inside the university campuses over the past year. Some students carry guns to study.
It is not clear for how long the strike will last. It has not been backed by all the students. A significant number are complaining about the timing, coming just as they were supposed to sit their mid-term exams.
“We, ourselves, are against closing the university. But we have no other choice. This is our last resort to get our voices heard,” Qabroon commented when asked about the complaints. “We are right now trying to find a solution for this. We want to solve problems, not create them,” he stated.
Students say that if their demands for better security fail they will have to protect themselves and the university. This could be done by forming faculty security groups made up of students from each faculty, they say.
The Minister of Higher Education told the Libya Herald last month that it was not satisfied with the security situation in Libyan universities, stating that it was “thinking of establishing a Universities’ Facilities Guard body, similar to that of the Petroleum Facilities Guard”.