On 28 August 2020, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj instituted a 24-hour curfew until at least 1 September, shortly after suspending the minister of interior amid protests demanding the prime minister’s resignation. Sarraj stated that the curfew was in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, although reports indicate that he may have instituted the curfew to quell the protest activity. The suspended interior minister was engaged in an escalating argument with Sarraj as armed groups opened fire on anti-government demonstrators who had gathered at Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square. Sarraj stated that the leadership of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) will investigate the use of violence against the demonstrators. In response, the interior minister has demanded that the hearings be made public.

Analyst Comment: There are unconfirmed reports that the sacked interior minister — who is a political rival of Sarraj — was planning a coup against him, which may have hastened the interior minister’s ouster.