By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 23 September 2013.
The Interior Ministry has announced that it will extend the period for vehicle owners to replace . . .[restrict]the word “Jamahiriya” – Qaddafi’s fanciful “state of the masses” with that of “Libya” on their licence plates. The new deadline is 31 December 2013.
In mid-August, the ministry set 15 September as the deadline, warning that legal action would taken against those who did not do so.
There has been a spate of announcements this year threatening dire consequences to drivers who did not comply with licence plate rulings.
At the end of January, Tripoli police warned that it would confiscate any vehicle without a number plate or with an invalid foreign plate. A week later, Benghazi’s National Security Directorate also announced that it too would take legal action against car owners without number plates or with tinted glass. At the end of May, the Ministry of Interior stated that it would impound any vehicle without a number plate.
The announcements have been ignored. There are still plenty of vehicles with foreign licence plates, without any at all or with the word “Jamahiriya” still showing.
The latest warning is not expect to make any difference either – until tough action is taken.
But the police are not totally passive. It was reported yesterday that when they and army members guarding a Tripoli checkpoint ordered a driver to remove the tinted film on his vehicle’s windows and he refused orders, he ended up regretting it. But not before insulting them and pulled a gun on them. He was quickly forced to the ground and arrested.
There has been no announcement that the police are planning similar tactics with those who do not change their registration plates by the end of the year.