Seems like the Tunisian revolution is having a knock on effect.
The dynastic families and presidents for life throughout the Maghreb and Middle East may succeed in quietening things down with promises, committee meetings and the sacking of a few officials. It’s unlikely, though, that the more systemic problems will be addressed in any meaningful way – with the result that the protests, if they die down now, are bound to return at some point in the future.
People are taking to the streets in Libya.
The Thundercat went on TV to condemn the Tunisian uprising.
“The protests themselves have not been reported in the official Libyan media, apart from a statement from the Revolutionary Committee condemning them. The cause of the trouble in Bani Walid is becoming clearer. It’s about delays in providing subsidised housing, and since Thursday activists in several towns have taken over hundreds of empty properties”.
The Egyptian website, AhramOnline, reports:
“Bani Walid has no basic services; thousands of people are without houses and the local authority is corrupted, it only delivers services with bribes. Nothing will make Bani Walid calm but freedom, justice and transparency.”
So far, the Gaddafi regime – for all its eccentricity – has handled the protests more smartly than the Ben Ali regime did in Tunisia. Large numbers of police have been standing by, watching, but they are said to have instructions not to open fire.
In the other bastion of dictatorship – Egypt, Hossam Bahgat, a human rights’ activist said the protests in Tunisia had encouraged those opposed to the regime of the long-time Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, to take peaceful action:
“I feel like we are a giant step closer to our own liberation, What’s significant about Tunisia is that literally days ago the regime seemed unshakable, and then eventually democracy prevailed without a single western state lifting a finger.”
Writing on Twitter, the Egyptian opposition leader and former chief UN weapons inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei said:
Perhaps the house of frauds/sauds will be welcoming a few more corrupt ex leaders in to their open arms sooner than we think.