Magharebia (Washington DC)

8 February 2013

Libya Unveils New Security Measures

Tripoli — Libya is taking measures to ensure stability during next week's revolution anniversary events.

As Libya prepares to mark the second anniversary of the February 17th revolution, the focus is on protecting civilians.

Security forces will be on the lookout for those trying to undermine Libya's security and stability, Prime Minister Ali Zidan said at a press conference on Monday (February 4th).

"The government has taken all necessary measures to prevent illegal acts that would destabilise the country's security and stability, intimidate citizens and cause strife," Prime Minister Ali Zidan said.

Several civil society organisations called for demonstrations on February 15th and 17th to demand that the General National Congress (GNC) build the police and army, especially in the eastern region.

Some factions want to cause strife and divisions and create tensions and problems that undermine Libyan security and national unity, Zidan noted. "Although these groups are small, their actions are provocative, but our citizens shouldn't be affected by them," Zidan added.

Citizens support the new steps, officials say.

"In the state of institutions, law, and freedom, Libyan citizens want to see policemen back in the streets to preserve security and want an organised army to protect the sovereignty of the Libyan state," Interior Minister Ashour Shuwail said.

Shuwail urged citizens to be aware of anyone who tried to infiltrate protests in order to sow sedition and division.

"Peaceful protests are needed in states of freedom and democracy under the supervision and oversight of civil society organisations that have the right to do that," the minister said.

"Benghazi is not different from other cities," he said of the city's security situation, adding that the enforcement plan's implementation was running smoothly.

The government "will co-ordinate in enforcing security, deterring violators and stopping vehicles without number plates and with tinted glass". They will also combat illegal immigration and begging, he added.

"Putting an end to all these negative phenomena in society would make Libya a country respected by other countries," he said, confirming that this task was primarily the responsibility of everyone, and not the Interior Ministry alone.

The presidency has approved a proposal submitted by the Interior Ministry for the creation of a new criminal investigation agency and a facilities security department.

"The new agency will handle everything related to combating crimes through its different components, including criminal evidence department, police dogs, investigations and inquiries," Interior Ministry official spokesperson Majdi al-Ourfi said.

The facilities security department will protect vital targets in Libya, including diplomatic missions, he said.

The latest attack on a foreign diplomat was an assassination attempt on Italian Consul Guido De Sanctis in Benghazi on January 15th.

US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US officials died in the September attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Last June, a rocket-propelled grenade struck a convoy carrying the British Ambassador to Libya, wounding two bodyguards.

"We want a solution. We're now going around in a vicious circle," Tripoli resident Noura al-Barasi said.

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