Libyan guards fire at Egyptian protest on the border

Ahram Online, Sunday 16 Jun 2013

Clashes broke out between Egyptian citizens and Libyan border guards in a dispute over cargo trucks entering Libya

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Egyptians cross from Libya to Egypt through the Saloum land port gate on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. (Photo: AP)

Libyan security forces fired at an Egyptian protest at the Saloum border crossing, but no one has yet been injured, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reports.

About 200 Egyptians had gathered in Al-Qous area on the Egyptian-Libyan border and reportedly pelted the Libyan side with stones after they allowed 20 trucks loaded with goods to cross into Libya. Some Egyptians who depend on Libya for their livelihood complain they are experiencing resistance to cross into Libya and sometimes find it suspicious why others are allowed in.

Last week Libyan border guards prevented an Egyptian truck from Saloum from entering Libya and set it on fire and eight people were injured in clashes that broke out after.

Libya is considered a market for Egyptian traders, especially those in cities close to the borders, like Saloum and coastal city of Marsa Matrouh. Many Egyptians there make a living by selling Libyan goods back in Egypt.

According to Al-Ahram newspaper, six similar incidents broke out between Egyptians and Libyan forces at the Saloum border-crossing in the past two months. These clashes have left about 15 Egyptians injured, including three security forces.

Meanwhile, military prosecution ordered the detention of 26 people, accusing them of being "illegal immigrants" attempting to cross international borders through Saloum into Libya without official permits.

Libya is one of the main destinations for Egyptians seeking work opportunities abroad. According to a 2010 report by the International Organisation for Migration, some 1.5 million Egyptians had been working in Libya at the time. 

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