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Libya: Protests against Haftar amid coronavirus outbreak

March 25, 2020 at 9:38 am

People gather to protest against military commander Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli, Libya on 3 January 2020 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

Dozens of Libyans yesterday demonstrated in front of the banks, expressing their anger against the eastern Libya government led by the retired Major General Khalifa Haftar following a recent delay in the disbursement of their salaries.

The protests were reported to have taken place in Libya’s eastern city of Al-Bayda where Haftar’s government is headquartered. The protesters burned tyres, insulted officials and said they would not comply with the state’s recently declared curfew to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Libyan interior ministry imposed a comprehensive curfew for 24 hours starting Wednesday until 3 April as a precautionary measure to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

READ: Hit by war and oil blockade, Libya prepares for pandemic

The United Nations, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, the US, and Algeria have called on all parties to the Libyan conflict to adhere to a humanitarian truce to help the government confront the threat of coronavirus.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently directed all parties in Libya to “unify their efforts in facing the threat posed by COVID-19 and ensuring an unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid throughout the country.”

Haftar forces have been violating the ceasefire on a daily basis by launching attacks on Tripoli and the GNA headquarters, as part of a military operation that has been taking place since 4 April, 2019.

On Monday, the Government of National Accord (GNA) said two civilians had been killed by rocket-propelled grenades fired by the Haftar forces at a house in Ain Zara, south of Tripoli.