The rising tide of dissatisfaction with the Government of National Accord (GNA) in western Libya is fueling the momentum of hardline Islamists and anti-GNA factions who held demonstrations on 29 July in Tripoli. The demonstration took place in Martyrs’ Square, despite a 3-day state of emergency declared by the Presidential Council. Hardliners are using the death of three French soldiers in a helicopter crash two weeks ago as evidence of GNA collusion with Khalifa Haftar and of a French ‘invasion’ to rally their supporters. Although the demonstration passed without incident, Rada (Special Deterrence Force of Tripoli) and Nawasi, another militia loyal to the GNA, reportedly detained a number of people from the rally, including media personnel belonging to hardline organizations.
In a key development, Wissam Ben Hamid, symbolic leader of the Benghazi Shura Revolutionary Council, appeared in a video published by the Benghazi Defense Brigades media outlet (Bushra) accusing Abdul Raouf Kara, the head of Rada, of being a hypocrite and equating him to Haftar. Kara, who maintains his political neutrality and is supportive of the GNA, also came under attack from the Grand Mufti Sadeq Al Ghariyani, who demanded that Kara release jihadists in Rada’s jails. Rada is reportedly holding more than 200 militants thought to be affiliated with Ansar Al Sharia and ISIS.