Discontent Rules in Cradle of Libya Revolution
Swept up in the euphoria of Libya’s first free national vote in six decades, voters in the eastern city of Benghazi braved anti-election protests on Saturday to pour into polling stations.
But the mood of celebration should not fool anyone: in the city that was the cradle of last year’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and remains the hub of Libya’s lucrative oil sector, the revolution is far from over yet.
Long a political hotbed that nurtured earlier attempts to unseat Gaddafi, Benghazi is now the focal point of a widespread sense among easterners that post-Gaddafi authorities are still neglecting their region economiYour text to link…cally and socially.
Many queuing to cast their ballots in Benghazi said they were using their votes simply to back candidates in a new interim assembly whose main policy drive will be to demand greater political representation for the region.
“We were able to get rid of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi with all his power and resources,” local women’s rights activist Salwa Homi said of the insurgency which, with the help of NATO bombs, ended 42 years of hardline Gaddafi rule.
“Don’t you think we can do the same to a few people we’ve elected ourselves?”
Nearly 18 months ago, the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel sparked a riot in Benghazi that triggered a civil war, the fall of Tripoli 1,000 km (630 miles) to the west and ultimately the capture and killing of Gaddafi himself.