On Sunday, Security Forces in Tripoli closed all roads leading to the capital’s Martyrs’ Square area with concrete barriers to prevent supporters of Libyan entrepreneur Basit Igtet from gathering on Monday.
The measure comes after Tripoli Security Department (TSD) refused to give permission to the protesters to gather in the square. The TSD claimed that the organizers of the protest have no clear vision, don’t follow a specific party, and have no known headquarters.
The TSD also claimed that a terrorist group planning to undermine security during the protest was arrested in the Ein Zara District on Saturday.
In Misrata, the protesters were given permission to stage the protest.
Supporters of Libyan entrepreneur Basit Igtet are planning to stage protests in Tripoli and Misrata on Monday to call for the overthrow of all current political entities in the Libyan scene.
“Igtet, who wish to be the next prime minster for the country, accuses the Chairman of the Presidential Council, Fayaz Sarraj, and the Chief of Dignity Operation, Khalifa Haftar, of being behind Libya’s political chaos and instability.”
“In coordination with Libya’s Government of National Accord and aligned forces, U.S. forces conducted six precision airstrikes in Libya against an ISIS desert camp on Friday,” US Africa Command which oversees US troops in the region, told CNN in a statement.
The strikes killed 17 ISIS militants and destroyed three vehicles at the camp, located about 150 miles southeast of Sirte, the statement added.
“The camp was used by ISIS to move fighters in and out of the country; stockpile weapons and equipment; and to plot and conduct attacks,” Africa Command said in a later statement, adding that ISIS operatives in Libya have “been connected to multiple attacks across Europe.”
The strikes were carried out by unmanned aircraft, US military officials told CNN. Trump approved the operation, signing off on it in the last week, one of the officials said.”
“The competition in Libya these days is not between pro-Sarraj forces and pro-Khalifa Haftar’s forces as it was in the past, but it is confined to the capital between some of Sarraj’s forces and armed groups that announced their allegiance and support to the Libyan businessman, who studied in the west and has US citizenship, Abdul Basit Igtet, to be the first president of Libya.
It is said that Igtet has relations with Qatar and with extremist armed groups inside Libya.
However, Igtet himself told Asharq Al-Awsat that this is not true at all.
“On the contrary, I am against the Qatari presence in Libya. This is something I am saying quite frankly. I am against the existence of any state in Libya.”
“I am against the presence of any group or movement opposing the interest of the homeland or that takes instructions from a third party, whether they are the Muslim Brotherhood or any other party.”
A western diplomat said that he believes there are two controlling parties in Libya.
The first is the US-British party and the second is the EU party, noting that the latter suffers internal conflicts, especially between France, Italy, and Germany.
While UN envoy Ghassan Salameh has proposed a roadmap aimed at amending the political agreement concluded in Skhirat and holding comprehensive elections before the end of next year, Igtet has called all Libyans to carry out protests for change on Monday at the Martyrs’ Square.”
“Tripoli, 25 September 2017:
Despite warnings from the Security Directorate, Haithem Tajouri and other militia leaders in Tripoli that protests in Martyrs’ Square would not be allowed today, a large number of demonstrators heeded the call of entrepreneur Baset Igtet to join him there and back him as potential leader of the country. The event was peaceful, in spite of the presence of a significant number of anti-Igtet protestors and despite some of the those on both sides said to have taken weapons just in case there was violence. The two sides were kept part by plain clothed security forces, said to belong to Ghneiwa’s central security authority.
Igtet himself arrived in Tripoli very early this morning with his campaign team from Tunis. After being initially delayed at Mitiga airport because paperwork was supposedly not in order, he went straight to Tajoura to meet other supporters before then heading later to Martyrs’ Square.
Initially Martyrs’ Square contained mainly anti-Igtet protestors who accused him of being a front for Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood and other hardliners in the former Libya Dawn movement. They demanded he be thrown out of the country.
Gradually, however, more and more Igtet supporters moved into the square, initially coming from Algeria Square, eventually overwhelming the opposition. Nonetheless, it was difficult to assess the numbers in the square with any accuracy. Some reports put the figure at 2,000; others suggested less, at around 1,200. Numbers fluctuated during the afternoon as people left but were then replaced by others who arrived. Igtet himself, who made no set-piece speech at the event, headed to Zliten once it was over.
It is not clear if the demonstration will have had any effect on the political situation, other than being seen to align him with the Muslim Brotherhood and the radicals. A significant proportion of those who attended appeared to be more interested in protesting against Hafter rather than for Igtet. Many others were simply spectators, there to see how the event would turn out.
Despite the ban by the Presidency Council and militias, Igtet claimed in an interview beforehand with the Libya Observer that many in the police privately supported him. However, recent days have seen an
unprecedented number of attacks on social media against him, focusing in particular on his background and that of his father, who became an Islamist and died in Pakistan, and the background of his wife and her family.
Meanwhile, many residents in Tripoli did not go to work today fearing violence between of the security services and the demonstrators.
For its part, the PC finally decided to take a relatively sanguine approach to the event, praising the security forces for ensuring that the protests were peaceful and adding that peaceful protests were one of the achievements of the 2011 revolution. It nevertheless repeated that it would “not allow any individual or entity to jump to power, obstruct the political track, sow confusion and threaten the security of the capital”.
“TRIPOLI, Libya — Nearly 2,000 demonstrators gathered in the Libyan capital on Monday in support of a Swiss-based Libyan businessman [Basit Igtet] who had called for a rally to reject the leadership of both main sides in the divided country….Both of those sides opposed the rally, and hundreds of counter-demonstrators attended and shouted anti-Igtet slogans. Igtet himself was present at one point, but did not speak. As night fell, the two sides clashed with fistfights before security forces intervened and separated them with dozens of vehicles. Most headed home afterward.”
Another short article, with a photo of Marty’s Square crowd: http://www.libyanexpress.com/thousands-take-to-public-squares-in-libya-to-back-up-igtets-call-for-reform/
“A small group of demonstrators gathered in the centre of Misrata [third-largest city in Libya, after Tripoli and Benghazi] last night in support of Baset Igtet, ahead of his proposed rally in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square on 25 September. Numbering less than 50 and said to be mainly refugees from Benghazi, they expressed support for him, condemning Haithem Tajouri’s opposition to the rally.”
“…Basit Igtet, has arrived this morning in Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport.
Igtet arrived on the same day (September 25) he is supposed to lead a protest he has been calling for since late June.
The Protests according to Igtet is going to topple down bad performing Presidential Council and other illegitimate bodies including the eastern government, parliament and self-styled army of Khalifa Haftar.
Local media reported that Igtet went immediately to the office of Special Deterrent Force’s leader, Abdelraouf Kara, to urge him to deploy the SDF forces to secure today’s protests.”