Security in the Libyan capital of Tripoli has been increased since Sunday morning after calls by activists on social networks for demonstrations to be held today, Anadolu has reported. Troops and police were deployed in Martyrs’ Square in the centre of Tripoli, where the demonstrations are expected to take place.
Vehicles belonging to the Nawasi Brigade, one of the largest battalions loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, were positioned along the coastal highway that leads to Mitiga International Airport, east of the capital.
The request for permission to stage the demonstration was rejected by the Tripoli Security Directorate. It was submitted by former prime ministerial candidate Basit Igtet, who has used recent speeches to call for demonstrations where people can declare their support for his attempt to govern the country.
A letter from the authorities gave several reasons for the refusal; one claimed that the movement wanting to demonstrate does not have a clear vision about the location of the protest. Furthermore, said the government, it does not follow a specific entity and has no clear headquarters for permission to be granted. The law is clear that the people behind the request for a demonstration do not meet the required criteria.
The security directorate also expressed its fear of infiltration of the protest by “outlawed groups” who could change its nature from peaceful to chaos, with dire consequences.
Mohammed Sawan, the leader of the Islamist Justice and Development Party, said on his Facebook page that his party does not support any “adventures” that aim to grab power outside the framework of a political agreement, or without an electoral process.
He added that the party respects freedom of expression, and that peaceful demonstrations are a right guaranteed by law, provided that security and public peace are not affected. “We hope that the movement will not be used to create more chaos,” he added.