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French military presence sparks protests in Libya, government 'unhappy'

French military presence sparks protests in Libya, government 'unhappy'


Hundreds of people demonstrated in several cities in Libya on Wednesday to protest against French military presence after France announced the killing of three of its soldiers in the country.

This was immediately followed by a statement from the Libyan national unity government (GNA) on Wednesday evening accusing France of “violating Libyan territory”.

The statement posted on the government’s Facebook page said that “nothing justifies an intervention without our knowledge and without coordinating with us”.

The GNA said it was unhappy with the announcement of the French government regarding the French presence in the east of Libya.

The demonstrations were organized especially in the capital Tripoli and also in Misrata (200 km east of Tripoli), according to Libyan media.

In Tripoli, hundreds of people gathered in Martyrs Square, waving placards criticizing France while images broadcast by Libyan satellite TV channel shows hundreds of people in Misrata in the east also condemning the French military presence.

Some also burned French flags and others chanted slogans against Paris and the UN-backed national unity government installed in the capital and supported by major Western powers, including France.

French President Francois Hollande confirmed on Wednesday for the first time the presence of French troops on Libyan soil.

The French defense ministry announced earlier that three of its soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash during an intelligence mission near Benghazi.

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