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Libya: Third day of protests against corruption, living conditions

Libyans chant slogans during a demonstration due to poor public services at the Martyrs' Square at the centre of the GNA-held Libyan capital Tripoli on August 25, 2020.   -  
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For the third consecutive day, hundreds of young Libyans marched in Tripoli on Tuesday in protest against deteriorating living conditions and corruption, amid a heavy security presence.

The demonstrators, who included teenagers and children, marched in the capital and converged on Martyrs' Square.

They are angry about the extended shortages of power, water and fuel, and demand that corrupt officials be put on trial.

"There is no electricity, no water, the cost of living is high, there are no salaries," said a woman who took part in the march.

"Today we called for the reform and improvement of the living conditions of the Libyan people, the cleansing of government institutions from the corrupted," explained a protester.

The demonstration took place even after Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), sought to appease protesters on Monday by announcing he would conduct a cabinet reshuffle.

During a speech broadcast on the GNA's official Al-Rasmiya television channel, Sarraj backed Libyans' "legitimate right" to protest and said he was determined to fight graft.

"New ministers will be chosen based on their competence, abilities and integrity," Sarraj said, vowing to take "exceptional measures" to carry out the reshuffle if it were opposed.

"We acknowledge... our share of responsibility" for the deterioration of the situation, he added, but also said the crisis "has been going on for years".

Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The war-weary country is plagued by water shortages and power blackouts that snuff out air-conditioners in the searing summer heat.

The situation has been compounded by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has depressed global oil prices and spread in the country despite social distancing measures.

The protests began days after the country's warring rival administrations announced separately that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections.

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