Print screen of a pro-Gaddafi Facebook page
The throngs of Gaddafi supporters who used to gather in Tripoli's Green Square seem to have vanished from the streets since the bloody ouster of the longtime Libyan leader. One year after Muammar Gaddafi's death, our contributor caught up with them in the online world.
A large numbers of Gaddafi loyalists have found shelter on social networks such as Twitter or Facebook after his death near his hometown of Sirte on October 20, 2011. Most supporters of the former regime hide their identity behind pseudonyms such as "Son of Gaddafi", "Khamis Gaddafi's lover" {Khamis was one of Muammar Gaddafi's son}, "Muammar and that's all". Besides fuelling political controversies on social networks, they have set up several Facebook pages and YouTube channels filled with nostalgia for the days under Gaddafi's rule.
Several Facebook groups go as far as claiming that the former Libyan leader is not dead, arguing that the person killed on October 20 was actually a body double. Some Facebook pages such as the "The Muammar Gaddafi's army" (9,500 followers) or the former radio station "Libya FM" (11,200 followers) follow Libyan news and provide commentaries on the armed clashes involving pro-Gaddafi groups.
They have recently focused their coverage on the alleged abuses committed by Libyan government forces and former rebel militia during their assault on Bani Walid. These Facebook groups have also called on local tribes to join the fight against governmental troops in Bani Walid.
The "Libyan resistance and intelligence" page (6,810 subscribers) is used to spread news on military operations from pro-Gaddafi groups, but several reports have been exposed as completely fake.
Several pro-Gaddafi activists are also active on YouTube to expose alleged abuses committed by former rebels and broadcast fake news reports. YouTube channels like "Supporters of our martyr Muammar Gaddafi" or "Great Werfalla" have posted online videos showing pro-Gaddafi fighters parading with songs praising the ousted leader. On social networks, there is no end in sight in the war of words between Libyan revolutionaries and former Gaddafi loyalists.
Article written in collaboration with Alaa Ben Othmane, contributor to our Libyablog website.