People protest to be heard. Their voices are the most driven factor when comes to political decisions. The people gather in places that draw attention to them, and nothing is more important than public squares to protest.
From 2011 to the present, public squares in Benghazi play a critical role in the recent history of Libya. There are three main places shifted from one to another acted as the favorite public spaces in the city.
Freedom Square: (2011- 2013)
While the whole world watched 2011 Arab Spring in many Arab nations, public square names were resonated everywhere. Such as Tahrer Square in Egypt. Libya had its own famous square at the time. Freedom square in Benghazi is where it all started.
This Square is located in Benghazi center adjacent to the courthouse. It was originally a parking lot.
People of Benghazi gathered every day during 2011. However, Islamist groups started raising in Benghazi taking this square as their main square to gather. It became rabaa al-adawiya square of Libya. People moved to the new public square in the middle of 2013 after the US ambassador was killed, and when the ideological differences started to rise. Check my blog post on Freedom Square almost 2 years ago.
Tibesty Square: (mid 2013- end 2014)
It is also called “ Martyr Abed Assalam Al Masmary Square). This square is located within the public park on the main lake in front of Tebisty Hotel. People abandoned Freedom Square as a reaction to the other groups who support the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups. One of the largest protests had taken place in this square was “Benghazi will never bow” on August 2014.
Its location within the downtown and close enough to the Freedom Square make it the perfect place to protest. Because of the war in Benghazi and the square’s location close enough to clashes, people moved to other safer public squares.
Alkeesh Square: (2015- Present)
Despite the war inside Benghazi for more than one year, people of Benghazi never stopped protesting. They keep their voices louder than any other city as Benghazi known as the city of rebellion.
Alkeesh square located in a place accessible to most areas under the army control. It was used to be a good place for gaddafi’s speeches, as it was located in front of his main brigade (Al Fadeel Bo Omer Brigade) inside the city. This square also held one of the most important speeches in the recent history of Libya when Abd Aljalil announce the Liberation Day in 2011. One of the largest protests is held in this square was only yesterday as people went out to refuse the latest Leon’s unity government proposal.
In this, one of the squares or in any other places, people of Benghazi will never stop protesting. As history tells us, Benghazi is the city that creates the future of Libya.