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On the September 8, two young and determined Libyan activists stormed their embassy in the Philippine capital demanding the resignation of Gadhafi diplomats. The Associated Press (AP) reported that two men scaled the embassy’s steel gate, barging into the building and scuffling with guards.
They were yelling loudly and tried to look for two of four Libyan diplomats inside, who they accused of remaining loyal to Gadhafi. “We are Libyans, this is our embassy,” Elyosa Fathi Elgardag, one of the intruders and a former student in the Philippines, said before storming the complex in front of Filipino guards.
The two Libyans said they left the embassy after the staff showed them a senior diplomat’s resignation letter, according to the Associated Press. The other diplomat the two activists were seeking wasn’t identified, and the Libyan Embassy staff refused to comment. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs also did not comment Friday on the situation.
Elgardag said that the embassy later informed the activists that the other diplomat they were interested in seeing is not a Gadhafi loyalist. Elgardag said they were satisfied with the development: “We are happy with that,” he said, adding that they left the building in an embassy car without any further cause.
A number of other Libyan activists, mainly Philippine students, were barred from entering the upscale gated community in Manila’s financial district, Elgardag said. A crowd-control team stood by in case Libyan protesters tried to get near the embassy.
Last month, Libyan diplomats in Manila raised the flag of the temporary rebel government, the National Transitional Council, as Tripoli’s diplomatic missions across the world defected from Gadhafi, underscoring his rapid fall after nearly forty two years in power.
The rapturous, young Libyans rampaged through the embassy compound in August, smashing Gadhafi’s glass-covered portraits, shouting “Die Gadhafi, die!” and ripping his “Green Book,” with his ruling philosophy. However Elgardag said the Libyan diplomats in Manila were under pressure after he and some other Libyans stayed in the Philippnes forced them to defect.
Elgardag’s companion, an anonymous student, said that they were refused from entering the embassy and they had no choice but to storm it because the embassy failed to arrange for the continuation of financial aid to Libyan students abroad. This lack of funding made things difficult for many students, according to the AP.
Elgardag believes that despite Gadhafi’s condemnation, the Libyan people should remain vigilant and ensure that succeeding leaders stomp out problems like massive corruption, the AP reported. “It’s not yet over,” he said and added that the Libyan revolt should “move all the corruption from the country. It’s not just to move the president.”
The Philippines in August recognized the opposition-led interim government in Libya after initial reluctance over concerns for safety of 1,700 Filipino workers, mostly nurses, still in the country. Gadhafi used to bankroll Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines but later brokered a historic 1976 peace accord between the main Muslim group and the Philippine government.
Libya also reportedly paid millions of dollars in ransom for the release of Western hostages held by the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group in 2000.