Libya Table of Contents
As previously noted, students have been the source of the most visible opposition to the Qadhafi regime. They initially appeared to support the revolution. Friction soon developed, however, when it became clear that student organizations would lose their autonomy within the ASU or GPC framework. The revolution nonetheless continued to have student supporters, and many of the first people's committees formed in the wake of the 1973 cultural revolution were established at universities. Those committees radically altered curricula, dismissed professors and deans, and terminated the school term early so that students could join volunteer projects and receive military training. Seventeen years after the Qadhafi-led coup, students as a whole remained divided between supporters and critics of the revolutionary regime.
A particularly serious incident occurred in January 1976 when students at the University of Benghazi protested government interference in student union elections. Elected students who were not ASU members were considered officially unacceptable by the authorities. Security forces moved onto the campus, and violence resulted. Reports that several students were shot and killed in the incident were adamantly denied by the government. Nonetheless, sympathizers organized more protests. Qadhafi and Jallud, speaking on April 6 at Tripoli University, called on revolutionaries there to drive out the opposition. Some clashes occurred as the newly formed people's committee undertook the purging of nonrevolutionaries. The school was finally closed temporarily and then renamed Al Fatah University. Since that time, there have been intermittent reports of student rebelliousness. In April 1984, for instance, two students at Al Fatah University were publicly hanged. Apparently in revenge, two revolutionary committee members were found murdered on campus. According to Amnesty International, two more students died in 1985, allegedly under torture while in the custody of the revolutionary committees.
Data as of 1987