By Tom Westcott and Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 7 July 2013:
Protestors demonstrating against the continued presence of unofficial brigades in the country are . . .[restrict]threatening, once they gather enough people, to take on the militias.
“Later today we plan to peacefully march to Martyrs Square and, when we have enough people, we will go on to the headquarters of these militias,” one of the protest organisers told the Libya Herald.
This afternoon’s protest was noticeably more organised than previous attempts to rally the residents of Tripoli into action. The roads around Algeria Square were closed and, as the day reached its hottest point, volunteers were handing out iced drinks to demonstrators.
“The government should come down here and feel the heat with us – then they might see sense,” one protestor said. “At the moment they are sitting in their comfy chairs with air conditioning, and can’t see the problems,” he said, “they just try to give us a paracetamol.”
Traffic around the square, as well as the protest itself, was being monitored by members of the military police, the army and the police, none of whom had weapons on show. Their job, one said, was to protect the protestors from any militia.
“The problem is only the militias,” one demonstrator said, “they have finished their job and now they should step down, go home and enjoy the holiday. They need some rest.” He added that it was time for these unofficial brigades to let the civilians do their job.
Protestors came not just from Tripoli, but outlying towns including Zintan and Zawia, according to army officer Laith Alhasi.
“People want these militias to join the army and the police force,” Alhasi told the Libya Herald, “but as individuals, rather than a group joining up together.” He added that Libyans wanted security forces to break their links to political parties.
The protest is expected to attract many more supporters this evening, once people finish work for the day.