The wave of protests against the enslavement of African migrants in Libya continued on Saturday (9 December) with demonstrations in the British capital and the German city of Hamburg.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Libyan embassy in London to demand an end to slave auctions in the North African country. Carrying placards reading “End the Damn Slavery!!” and “Human Lives Matter Regardless of Colour!!”, among others, the London protesters condemned the widespread violation of migrants’ human rights in Libya and called on Tripoli to end the “crime against African humanity” in the country.
An official poster for the march says the demonstration stands against “the enslaving and selling of black Africans in Libya and the illegal detention of migrants in Libyan concentration camps”.
In a similar event, hundreds of people turned out in Hamburg and Frankfurt on Saturday to condemn the maltreatment of Africans in Libya. They called on African countries to take concrete actions to protect their citizens in the North African country, condemning EU policies for adding to the suffering of migrants in Libya.
African Diaspora groups in Europe have been expressing their anger following the harrowing CNN footage, broadcast in November, showing African men being sold as farm hands near the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
The video clip sparked worldwide outrage and a petition calling on the UK government to put pressure on Libya to end modern slavery began circulating on social media in November. The petition has gathered more than 262,000 signatures.
The British Parliament is set to debate the petition on 18 December.
UK-based NGO African Lives Matter organized protests across the UK after the petition garnered thousands of signatures. Celebrities, including Cara Delevigne and Naomi Campbell, publicly supported the demonstration.
Demonstrations have also taken place in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Cologne, Vienna, Rome and Stockholm among other cities in Europe.
According to the international organizations, between 700,000 and 1 million migrants are stranded in Libya unable to make the journey across the Mediterranean to Europe. An EU-AU meeting in November in the Ivorian city of Abidjan agreed to evacuate migrants and return them to their home countries.
Several groups, including Amnesty International, have expressed serious doubts about the effectiveness of the plan. They say the chaos in Libya, where there’re three governments competing for legitimacy and hundreds of armed militias that are not controlled by the authorities, will make the implementation of the evacuation plan unrealistic. Most of the detained migrants are in the custody of the militias and criminal people trafficking networks.
Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration has announced that it will fly 15,000 migrants to their homelands before the end of the year.