The Qatari flag and a doll intended to represent Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, were burned by demonstators in Benghazi today who accused the Emir of interfering in Libya’s internal affairs.
An estimated 500 protestors gathered outside the city’s Tibesti hotel late this afternoon to vent their anger against the Gulf state, their opposition to militiamen who had been besieging the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice in Tripoli, and their support for the government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and the General National Congress.
As with demonstrators outside the Foreign Ministry in Tripoli, they also called for the dismissal of Chief of Staff Yousef Mangoush. “We shall put him in jail”, some chanted. They accused him of doing nothing for Libya’s security and of allowing the militiamen to act.
Several of the protestors waved the black flag of Cyrenaica, which until now has been the symbol of federalists.
Much of the opposition was directed however at Qatar which protesters claimed was supporting Libyan Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Some protestors demanded that Qataris be prevented from buying any land in Libya.
Yesterday, Qatar vigorously denied that it has been interfering in Libya. A statement from the its embassy in Tripoli yesterday said that it “rejected accusations of its intervention in Libya’s internal affairs and support for certain Libyan groups or political blocs”. The accusation was “is false and unfounded”. Qatar’s role, it said, had been limited one of support and respect for the 17 February Revolution.
The statement did not cut ice with protestors in Tobruk today, where a Qatari flag was also burned.