Libyans protest against the cancellation of elections
Libya– Hundreds of people flocked to the streets in different Libyan towns on Friday to protest against the cancellation of the long-awaited presidential election, a setback to aspirations of resolving the country’s decade-long instability.
The protests have been organized by a number of parliamentary candidates and political parties, highlighting the dangers to the country’s delicate stability, which is still riven by an east-west division.
Libya’s electoral commission has recommended rescheduling the presidential election for January 24, with parliamentary elections scheduled for February 15. However, no dates have been announced or agreed upon by the country’s competing groups.
Protesters held placards stating “yes for elections, no for postponement” at a rally in Benghazi. “All of Libya’s elections must be held on schedule. An activist, Mohamed Alorfy, addressed the gathering, “We refuse any delay or manipulation of the Libyan will.”
Many parliamentary aspirants had already circulated a flyer asking for protests on “Salvation Friday.” The demonstrators’ demands were printed on the poster, including a final poll date of January 24. “Do not be a bystander. Take to the streets and let your voice be heard. Al-Salhen Al-Nihoom, a parliamentary candidate from Benghazi, stated on his Facebook page, “Force them to respect your desire.”
Protesters have also gathered in other cities and towns in eastern Libya, including Tobruk and Derna, for the same cause. In the western city of Misrata, the southern village of Gatroun, and the central Libyan town of Hun, small numbers also took to the streets.