Protests occur in Western Libya due to deteriorating conditions
On 23 August, multiple protests began to occur throughout Libya’s western region, specifically in Tripoli and in Zawiyya, that saw civilians criticising the GNA over current issues concerning power, water, and corruption. Reports of the protests in Tripoli suggest that Ministry of Interior (MoI)-aligned armed groups opened fire on the civilians, subsequently receiving widespread condemnation.
Since 20 August, communications systems are also down across large parts of Libya, with almost no internet access and very limited mobile network coverage. The official reason provided is ‘maintenance,’ but this is not believed by most Libyans, who feel that the communications have been shut down to try and stop the spread of information about the protests, in order to prevent them from inspiring further demonstrations.
The protests indicate that the deteriorating living conditions and overt corruption are reaching a breaking point for civilians in the western region, and in Libya more broadly. Should nothing be done soon to address the electricity and water issues, protests are likely to continue, which could see violence emerge on a larger scale. While it is not thought that these protests will result in the removal or topping of the GNA (as the GNA-aligned armed groups appear to be maintaining their support for the GNA political figures), the public dissatisfaction may assist the top down efforts by the international community to reform the Presidential Council.