UNSMIL Condemns al-Marj Security Directorate for Resisting “Peaceful” Arsonists – Al Marsad

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) issued a baffling statement on the attack on the Security Directorate in the city of al-Marj and the attempted arson in which it tacitly supported the attack, describing the attackers, one of whom was killed, as “peaceful demonstrators”.

(Libya, 13 September 2020) – In a statement issued Sunday evening, it wrote: “UNSMIL expresses grave concern regarding reports that one civilian was killed, three were injured, and a number of other demonstrators were arrested … following the reported excessive use of force by eastern authorities against peaceful demonstrators in the city of al-Marj.”

UNSMIL’s statement called for a thorough and immediate investigation into these incidents and for the speedy release of all those it described as “arbitrarily arrested and detained”, referring to those who were arrested after the attack on the Directorate, some of whom fired and tried to burn the headquarters and the police officers and security personnel therein.
“UNSMIL reminds all parties in Libya that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights and fall within Libya’s obligations under international human rights law,” added the statement.

On the other hand, the elders and notables of the city of al-Marj had declared their support to and solidarity with the Security Directorate during their visit to it after the attempted attack and aborted arson, blaming the groups that attacked the directorate and protested far from the allocated squares for the riot that ensued.

UNSMIL concluded: “These demonstrations, and those witnessed of late in other parts of Libya, are motivated by deep-seated frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity and water, rampant corruption, misgovernance, and a lack of service provision throughout the country. They underscore the urgent need to lift the oil blockade and return to a full and inclusive political process that will meet the aspirations of the Libyan people for representative government, dignity, and peace.”

The continued ambiguity of UNSMIL statements and failure of clarity when it comes to events in Tripoli and areas controlled by the Government of National Accord (GNA)—such as the disturbing events we saw with attacks on the demonstrators in Tripoli and the lack of censure against key figures such as Fathi Bashagha, Fayez al-Sarraj, Syrian mercenaries and the various militia—against arson attacks in the east of the country which, in the case of al-Marj, were evidently caused by violent protestors.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)