Libya's interim government has issued an ultimatum to regional militias lingering in the capital of Tripoli: disarm or leave.
A public demonstration will be held tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in Martyrs' Square in support of initiatives to clear Tripoli of weapons and the unnecessary presence of militia, a statement from the office of the interim prime minister said.
It is anticipated that the demonstration will escalate each day until Dec. 20. On that day, if the militias have not left the city, the public of Tripoli and the Libyan government will close the whole city to traffic.
The statement by Abdel Rahim al-Kib's office came after he met with the city council chief and other members of the National Transitional Council, or NTC, over security concerns posed by the presence of armed militias in Tripoli, Agence France Presse reported. The government has given the militias until Dec. 20 to come under state control or face the consequences.
The measures come in response to a series of shoot-outs in recent days.
The people demand safety provided by legitimate government enforcement bodies, and it is our duty to respond, said Razzak Abuhajar, chairman of the Tripoli council.
These militias were at the front lines of the uprising that toppled former dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
We are grateful for their help, but now it is time for them to return to their families and friends to help rebuild their own cities and lives, Abuhajar said as he urged the several militias that represent different parts of Libya to return home.
We call on Libyans to show restraint and maturity during the coming days, but, ultimately, these plans coordinated by the government and the people of Tripoli reflect a necessary step in the city's transitional process.
On Tuesday, protestors blocked off several streets in Tripoli, demanding that fighters from other parts of the country pull out of the capital. And on Sunday, a former rebel was killed in a Tripoli shootout with members of a brigade of Rojban fighters from the west who wanted the release of a comrade.
While the crackdown, implemented by local militias, may restore order to Tripoli, broader political problems remain, The Guardian reported. For, three months after the fall of the capital, no stable, effective government has been put into place.