Libya Comic Con Shut Down By Military Police
An armed group has shut down the second Libya Comic Con, taking place this past weekend in the country's capital Tripoli this weekend because it breached the country's "morals and modesty".
The organisers of the show, which had official permission to be staged, including from the Nawasi militia force in charge of security, have been arrested by the Rada Special Deterrent Forces (SDF), a hardliner Islamic special operations military police unit formed for the purpose of tackling crime in the current Political vacuum.
This occurred after, the SDF say, photos published on social media from the convention caused "a widespread public outpouring of criticism" and that such events were "derived from abroad and exploit weakness of religious faith and fascination with foreign cultures". Over twenty people were detained, and six are still under arrest, and it is reported that those who were released had been beaten, and shaved, and told "Libya was a Muslim country, not a free/liberal country.
The show attracted an audience of hundreds, mostly young, many in cosplay. But the SDF, part of UN-backed Government of National Accord, raided the gathering which was attended by comic creators such as David Mack. His video for the show has been removed from social media as well as the Facebook page for the event. The show's Twitter account and Instagram account have had posts from the weekend removed too.
The Libya Herald reports "Anyone who was wearing a badge, including visitors, were arrested – thinking they were organisers because they wore a badge" with those arrested being accused of "agnosticism, atheism, holding masonic ideas, believing in Halloween, distorting the minds of youth, and kufer (abandoning Islam)" as well as "inciting violence through some artwork which depicted knives and violent scenes. Some artwork was confiscated as evidence."
Libya has been a conflict area since the fall of Gadhafi in 2011 and now has two rival government, a United Nations-backed one in the west and a rival administration backed by a military strongman in the east. Hundreds of different militia groups have stepped in to impose their authority in the security vacuum.
Bleeding Cool has ascertained that David Mack is safe. No more details for now, though this is one video posted before the military police arrived.