Protesters in Tripoli Call for General Strike

Power cuts are are back to plague daily life in Tripoli and are getting longer as electricity worker strike over unpaid salaries. The outages restarted on Wednesday when much of the city was without power for five to six hours. On Thursday that increased to eight to ten hours. By Friday the figure was 18 hours. The city was without power all of last night.

In comparison, cuts in Benghazi are currently no more than two hours a day.

According to the electricity workers union, members have not been paid for weeks.

The state electricity company, GECOL has given a different version of events. Expressing regrets and noting that it had lost 1,000 MW of production in the past few days, it said that the problem was down to a mix of reasons. These are: power line being brought down because of clashes in the Sirte region, the steam poser station in Sirte ceasing production, technical problems at the Zawia power station, and soaring temperatures in and around Tripoli resulting in people switching on their air conditioners.

Temperatures are, however, expected to drop next week – which should ease the problem but will not deal with the other causes.

As a result of the cuts, the main noise heard in Tripoli at present is that of private generators. Most shops and cafes, and many residents now rely on them and fortunately there are no problems about obtaining fuel.

The outages are producing outrage, however, with the credibility of the Serraj Government of National Accord suffering accordingly. There are now calls by activists on social media for a general strike to protest the worsening conditions. These also include no cash in the banks. People are still queuing daily outside banks in the hope of being able to withdraw money.

At the heart of that particular problem is the fact that despite LD 25 billion in circulation, no one wants to deposit cash in the banks, because there is no trust that it can be accessed again.

LH