News Alerts

27 Jul 2020 | 04:57 PM UTC

Libya: Residents storm GECOL facilities in Tripoli on July 25 in protest over continued power outages

Libya News Alert

Residents storm GECOL facilities in Tripoli on July 25 amid widespread power outages in southern and western regions; further supply disruptions likely in medium term

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/27/2020, 12:00 AM until 7/29/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Tripoli). COUNTRY/REGION Tripoli

Event

Local residents stormed two General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) power distribution facilities in the Souq Al-Jumm'a area of Tripoli and the Ka'am area of Khoms on Saturday, July 25, in protest over continued power outages. The incidents came amid widescale load-shedding outages in the south and west of the country, with residents reportedly attempting to restore power to their neighborhoods. However, the forced power restorations overloaded the local electricity grid and led to prolonged outages. Protesters are also reported to have shut off the gas supply to the Al-Zawiya Power Station on Saturday, although the supply was restored after a brief interruption.

Continued electricity supply disruptions and associated unrest are likely in Tripoli and other areas of the country in the medium term.

Context

Damage from years of conflict, lagging maintenance, and a lack of investment since the 2011 civil war have left Libya's electricity infrastructure in a poor state of repair. Inadequate electricity generation capacity in recent years has seen regular load-shedding outages of up to ten hours in some areas, with blackouts increasing in the summer months as high temperatures put additional strain on infrastructure. The electricity supply issues have prompted numerous service delivery protests in Tripoli and other areas in recent weeks, with demonstrators calling for the dismissal of the management of GECOL. Although these demonstrations have remained largely peaceful, communities have occasionally attempted to seize or disrupt GECOL facilities in order to restore the supply.

Advice

Those in Tripoli and other areas in western Libya are advised to monitor developments, anticipate localized disruption, and heed any directives issued by local authorities. All demonstrations and political gatherings in Libya should be avoided due to the risk of incidental violence and aggressive crowd-dispersal operations by security forces.

 

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