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article imageTripoli protesters demand unity government solve urgent problems

By Ken Hanly     Jun 18, 2016 in World
Tripoli - Many took to the streets of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, to protest against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNC) headed by Faiez Serraj.
Some tires were set ablaze and some roads were blocked such as Ghout Al-Shaal, Al-Saba crossroad and in the Al-Firnaj neighborhood. Many protesters had signs protesting the government and its Presidential Council headed by Faiez Serraj. They demanded solutions to the problems they face including long power outages, a cash crisis and now a water shortage. The situation is exacerbated by high temperatures.
As noted in an article a few days ago in Digital Journal, militia determine how power is distributed in Tripoli. Militia force the electrical company GECOL to leave power on to areas they control. As the length of power outages increase more and more areas see protests. They started in the Driebi and Bab Ben Gashir districts but have now spread to five more different areas. In some areas the power was off for 12 hours and returned for only one hour before being off again for the rest of the day. Three districts had no power all day.
Libya Herald reporters tried to approach teenagers and young boys setting fire to tires in the street but they were in no mood to talk. Temperatures in the city had surged to the low forties C. With no power for air conditioning conditions in many buildings were miserable. Mohamed Jabu from the Ain Zara Municipal Council said: “If the situation remains like this, there are going to be a lot more protests across Tripoli in the next few days,” The city's main highway was closed by the protests.
A source at the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) said that there were no practical solutions to reduce the outages. The only option was to share the present power load evenly, but this has not been possible as the militia refuse to allow areas they control to have long power outages. The source noted: “I believe the network will not bear this much longer and we are again warning that Tripoli might fall into a complete darkness within days.”
The situation is building resentment not just against the GNA but also against those areas that have maintained the power supply. Protesters in Ras Hassan tried to storm Al-Madar mobile company to sever power links to towns that are refusing to share in the power outages.
Even the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Martin Kobler expressed his concern about the outages in a tweet: ‏"@KoblerSRSG Worried about the continued power cuts in large parts of tripoli. Urge #Gna to tackle energy supply for the population." It is not just Tripoli that is suffering from the outages but other areas near Tripoli as well. The situation is even worse in the south as electrical towers have been vandalized apparently. As a tweet puts the matter: "South has it worst by far when it comes to power cuts.Cities in South have gone days without electricity. Enough is enough. #Fezzan #Libya"
Protesters are also demanding an end to the liquidity crisis as there still does not seem sufficient cash in banks. Prices for items are also rising. There is also a water shortage with some areas having to use well water often of poor quality. The head of the Presidential Council, Faiez Serraj, had promised in a televise speech last Monday to take steps to end the suffering but little appears to have happened as yet.
More about Libyan Government of National Accord, Libya power outages, Tripoli
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