Tripoli police overcome fears and return to work

August 29, 2011 19:37


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TRIPOLI - Police in Tripoli are overcoming fears they would not be welcomed by Libya's new masters and are slowly returning to work, taking pains to distance themselves from ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi and win the public's trust.

Visitors to one police station step on a rug featuring Gaddafi's face and drivers roll over a poster of him at a checkpoint outside.

The district's policemen on Monday spent their first day in uniform since Gaddafi's overthrow. Senior officers had for days urged colleagues to return to work, through announcements at mosques and word of mouth.

"Today's the first day we're back in uniform because we were afraid of what the reaction would be," said Osama Al-Zawya, a 40-year-old police colonel at the Libyan capital's Sooq al-Jumaa district police station. "The reaction has been good. In the beginning there was some aggression because for six months people felt fear and intimidation from the security services," he added.

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