Though the Libyan protests have become far, far bloodier than the Egyptian protests earlier this month, the Libyan government has taken another page from the Egyptian playbook and is reportedly sending out text messages en masse to supporters.
The messages apparently encourage the protesting Libyans to end their general strike, and return to work. In a crowd-sourcing twist, the recipients of the messages are promised phone credits if they forward the messages.
Alive in Libya, a website that transcribes and translates voice messages from Libyans, posts the following transcript that describes the messages.
They’re sending messages for us to go back to work. And they’re sending messages saying to take care of our children and not to let them participate in this war. […] Messages from the government, the general popular committee: “Please go back to work.” Arabic: The general popular committee asks all citizens in the public and private sector to go back to work and living their life normally from today.” So the government is asking people to go back to work, but as I told you I don’t think that will be possible in weeks. There’s so much destruction in the city.
This seems an unusual choice by the Libyan government, who earlier shut down, and then restored the country’s internet access. In general, the Libyan government has taken a militaristic response rather than one of information control that the Egyptian government seemed to favor.
It is impossible to say what this action, if true, says about the state of the Libyan government. Though I must admit to taking some relief seeing an appeal sent out via cellphones, rather than machine gun fire from the back of trucks.
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