TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Dozens have been arrested in Brussels after one of several European rallies against modern slavery in Libya turned violent. The very government that the West helped form after the fall of Gaddafi is now facing pressure over its inability to tackle human rights abuses.
Torture, human trafficking and abuse have become the appalling reality of fractured Libya ever since NATO intervention and the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Despite occasional reports, the issue has long been neglected by mainstream media after the “liberated” country was plunged into lawlessness and chaos. This month it attracted attention once again after a CNN report documented an alleged live slavery auction in Libya where African citizens were sold off for as little as $400.
The report sparked a massive outcry, prompting France to call an emergency UN Security Council session on human trafficking in Libya. Human rights violations in Libya have also been condemned by UN officials, the African Union, European governments and human rights groups. Over the weekend, Africans and locals joined forces in a number of European cities to rally against such blatant human rights violations.
The mainly peaceful rally in Brussels turned violent when several dozen protesters broke away from the main march to vandalize local shops and attack police lines. Police used water cannons to disperse the group after they threw projectiles at officers. While no one was reportedly injured in the clashes, Brussels public prosecutor’s office announced that authorities made 16 judicial arrests and 55 administrative arrests following the clashes in the Brussels-Capital Ixelles area.
In the German capital, Berlin, hundreds of members of the African community dressed up as slaves in chains and rallied outside the Libyan Embassy, holding signs that read: “Stop black slavery in Europe and Libya,” and “Black Lives Matter.”