Protests against armed groups and insecurity resume in Zawiyya amid uptick in anti-African rhetoric

Apr 26, 2023 | Libyan actors

Overnight on 26 April and throughout 27 April, tensions flared once more in Zawiyya triggered by the release of a video showing Zawiyyan armed groups torturing prisoners, with additional outrage being evoked due to sub-Saharan Africans being involved carrying out the torture. This led to protests across the city, mainly by young people condemning the armed groups. The protestors issued a 12-point declaration demanding security, social and council reforms including suspending the Zawiyya Municipal Council and holding fresh elections, suspending the Zawiyya Security Directorate, and ending the ‘illegal legitimacy’ issued by the Government of National Unity’s (GNU) Ministries of Interior and Defence to the city’s armed groups. They specifically called for ‘African mercenaries affiliated with gangs and security services’ to be arrested and for illegal immigrations dens to be raided. There were calls for acts of civil disobedience to be carried out until the Zawiyya Security Directorate gets the armed groups and general insecurity in the city under control. Protestors barricaded the Municipal Council headquarters and used vehicles and earth barriers to temporarily block access to Zawiyya refinery.