It is not easy to know what is going on in Libya, because media access is limited.
You could have won some cash off me had we wagered even a week ago, for I figured Qaddafi (or however you spell his name) had such a tight grip that mass protests would not break out. But break out they have, and the state response has been furious. But it seems the protesters really have lost their fear…
The Guardian is now reporting that, for apparently the first time, protests have spread to Tripoli:
In dramatic and fast-moving developments demonstrators were reported massing in Tripoli’s Green Square and preparing to march on Gaddafi’s compound.
And Al Jazeera is reporting:
Meanwhile the head of the Al-Zuwayya tribe in eastern Libya has threatened to cut off oil exports unless authorities stop what he called the “oppression of protesters”, the Warfala tribe, one of Libya’s biggest, has reportedly joined the anti-Gaddafi protests.
Anti-government protesters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi have reportedly seized army vehicles and weapons … A local witness said that a section of the troops had joined the protesters on Sunday as chaos swept the streets of the city, worst hit by the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year old rule.
The Al Jazeera article also reports that about 50 Muslim leaders in Libya have called on security forces to stop firing on civilians.
Even for a dictator as ruthless and oblivious to international condemnation as Qaddafi these have to be ominous signs.
* Lately one or two have fully paid their dues…