Local sources report that a peaceful anti-government demonstration in Martyrs' Square was dispersed by live fire from security forces on Wednesday evening, August 26. Joint Force and Ghneiwa troops reportedly opened fire into the crowd, resulting in the panicked dispersal of protesters. No information regarding casualties was immediately available. Wednesday's protest was the fourth successive night of anti-government protests in Tripoli, with demonstrators voicing anger against corruption and living conditions in areas governed by the Government of National Accord (GNA). The suppression of the protest comes after the GNA Presidential Council announced a four-day, 24-hour lockdown in Tripoli, allegedly to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Tripoli-based government is expected to use the lockdown measures as justification for a ban on all demonstrations and the dispersal of any unauthorized gatherings in the near term. Other anti-government protests have recently been reported in Misrata and Al-Zawiya.
The continued protests come despite the GNA promising to make ministerial reshuffles on Monday, August 24, with al-Sarraj declaring an emergency in order to form a government of crisis.
A strong security presence is to be expected in central Tripoli and near protest sites in Libya over the near term.
Anti-government protests, often organized by Libyan civil society groups popular among the country's youth, have been reported in several cities under GNA control in recent days. Demonstrations have focused on poor living conditions and corruption amongst GNA officials. Past protests have been dispersed by militia and security forces with live ammunition.
Those in Libya are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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