On 22 May, protesters in Zawiyya gave the Government of National Unity (GNU) and the Presidential Council (PC) a 24-hour ultimatum to improve the security situation in the city and move against the armed militias. If their demands are not met within 24 hours, they warned, they will escalate by shutting down the main oil refinery and cutting off jet fuel transport routes. The protesters had cut off the city’s main roads and gathered outside security headquarters to protest the rising crime rates and deteriorating security conditions. On 22 May, the coastal road through Zawiyya reportedly reopened. At the time of writing on 23 May, the refinery remained operational.
These protests were partly in response to the killing of Ahmed al-Ayeb, whose body was found with signs of torture on 21 May after having been arrested by a local armed group on 20 May. A video was also circulated on social media showing a woman being tortured by an armed group, sparking further anger.