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article imageTripoli residents on strike, 48-hour state of emergency declared

By Ken Hanly     Nov 17, 2013 in World
Tripoli - A 48-hour state of emergency has been declared in the capital of Libya Tripoli after many were killed as Mistrata militia fired on anti-militia protesters killing and many and wounding many more.
A spokesperson from the Health Ministry put the latest death toll from the confrontations at 32 dead and 391 wounded. There were more clashes just yesterday (Nov. 16) that killed at least one and wounded dozens. The clashes happened east of the city where checkpoints had been set up to prevent reinforcements coming to the aid of the Misrata militia in Tripoli from their home town of Misrata.
Thousands of Tripoli residents gathered in the center of Tripoli to mourn those killed in demonstrations on Friday. Many called on the government to resign and for armed militias to leave the city. At a news conference the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan said:"I extend my warmest condolences. May God console all the families of the martyrs. It's a great loss to the country, what has happened is regrettable". Zeidan has demanded that all militias who fired on civilians should leave the city.
Most businesses both in the public and private sector launched a general strike on Sunday (Nov. 17) in order to force the government to drive out militia blamed for the clashes that resulted in many deaths on Friday. The strike call was made by city leaders who demanded that all militias should leave the capital to let the police and the army to do their work. However, many militias themselves are hired by the government to provide security. Al-Sada al-Badri who is head of the Tripoli city council said that the strike would last for three days:"We have declared a strike for three days from today, but if our demands are not met we will continue. We will not negotiate with them. Things are as clear as the sun, we want a decision." Residents in many areas armed themselves and set up checkpoints and barricades to protect their own neighborhoods. Tripoli authorities also called for three days of mourning.
An excellent long article in Al Jazeera details the deterioration of the situation in Libya over this year, a process not much followed in the international press although oil business publications have taken notice. The oil situation is particularly precarious in the east of the country which has declared an autonomous government of Cyrenaica with its own oil company. The Al Jazeera article notes: In an escalating crisis little regarded hitherto outside the oil markets, output of Libya’s prized high-quality crude oil has plunged from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day now. Despite threats to use military force to retake the oil ports, the government in Tripoli has been unable to move effectively against striking guards and mutinous military units that are linked to secessionist forces in the east of the country.
More about Libya, Libyan militia violence, Misarata militia
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