Libya: federalists bow out of Bengasi revolt anniversary

Fear risk of violence at 2-yr anniversary demonstration

15 February, 11:15

Security in Benghazi ahead of revolution anniversary Security in Benghazi ahead of revolution anniversary

(ANSAmed) - ROME - Federalist leaders from Libya's eastern region Cyrenaica made a surprise announcement on local television on Friday that they would not participate demonstrations in Bengasi to celebrate the second anniversary of the revolt against Muammar Gaddafi.

The federalists, who had initially promoted the celebrations, are asking for greater autonomy from Tripoli and hope to be represented among the 60 members of the constitutional commission.

Local press reported federalist representatives were pulling out of the celebrations ''for the safety of our community, the protection of national unity, social harmony and to prevent people from getting involved in conflicts due to the wishes of various entities and political groups.'' The federalists fear being dragged into violent conflict provoked by other groups, such as loyalists to the ex-Gaddafi regime. ''I believe that this is the right move for safety today. We can not be responsible for any suspicions (against us), or violent acts during the demonstration,'' federalist leader Faraj el-Kezza told the Libya Herald.(ANSAmed).