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Thousands protest against provincial autonomy in Libyan

03-10-2012 14:13 BJT

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A group of civic leaders in the Libyan city of Benghazi have said they would run their own affairs. The assertion is in defiance of the government in Tripoli which is already struggling to assert its authority after Muammar Gaddafi was ousted last year. On Friday, thousands of people in the two cities rejected the announcement with prayers and protest.

In prayers, they protest. Friday in Benghazi and Tripoli, clerics warned the autonomy plan could lead to the break up of Libya.

Yosri Al- Hadar said, "The federal announcement in eastern Libya is a negative step back. It’s the beginning of the division of Libya, and it’s not in the of interest of the Libyan people."

Later, crowds packed into squares in both cities to express their opposition to the idea. In Benghazi’s Tahrir square, between 3,000 and 4,000 people joined in the protest against the autonomy plan, which aims to recreate Libya’s 1950s constitution when the country was divided into three semi-autonomous provinces.

Thousands of Libyans takt part in a protest in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square on March 9, 2012, against federalism after tribal and political leaders declared Libya's oil-rich eastern region of Cyrenaica as autonomous, raising fears the country may break up in the wake of Moamer Kadhafi's downfall. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

Mahmoud Shmam, former media minister of National Transitional Council Executive Office, siad, "We confirm the unity of Libya and the unity of its land and people. We also confirm that Libya’s future should be justice, equality, decentralization, no marginalization, Libya with a balanced development. This protest is a referendum not just against federalisation but also against marginalization and against the domination of any part of Libya."

In Tripoli, thousands of protesters gathered in the Martyrs Square, chanting and holding banners against federalisation.

 

Thousands of Libyans takt part in a protest in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square on March 9, 2012, against federalism after tribal and political leaders declared Libya's oil-rich eastern region of Cyrenaica as autonomous, raising fears the country may break up in the wake of Moamer Kadhafi's downfall. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)
Abdul Salam Ali Algomati, a protester, said, "Libya is one unite, no for dividing it, no for separation and no for federalisation and no for all the infliction."

The protests were some of the biggest in Libya in several months. Civic leaders in Benghazi on Tuesday declared the creation of a "Provincial Council" to run the affairs of Cyrenaica. The province is home to Libya’s biggest oil fields. The new council, if it can assert real power, could cause complications for international oil firms. They might have to re-negotiate their contracts with the new provincial entity, as well as with Tripoli.

 

Thousands of Libyans takt part in a protest in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square on March 9, 2012, against federalism after tribal and political leaders declared Libya's oil-rich eastern region of Cyrenaica as autonomous, raising fears the country may break up in the wake of Moamer Kadhafi's downfall. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

 

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: CNTV.CN

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