November 4, 2017 / 3:55 PM / 2 years ago

Libyan Salafist-led force breaks up comic festival for 'indecency'

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A Libyan force that acts as an anti-crime unit in Tripoli said it had arrested the organisers of a comic festival for “acts of indecency and against public morals”.

The arrests were carried out by the Special Deterrence Force (Rada), a Salafist-led armed group that has expanded its power under Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord.

Salafists are ultra-conservatives whose influence has grown across Libya in recent years.

The arrests cut short the second three-day annual Comic Con festival of arts, comics, anime and gaming to be held in the capital. The arrests were made on Friday, the second day of the event.

Some Libyans had attacked Comic Con organisers on social media for holding the event, saying it was un-Islamic and resembled a Halloween party.

The organisers said on their Facebook page that the festival had nothing to do with Halloween. They posted no immediate comment on the arrests.

Rada said in its statement that festivals like Comic Con were “derived from abroad and exploit weakness of religious faith and fascination with foreign cultures”.

“The organisers and supervisors of the event were arrested and will be presented for public prosecution for acts of indecency and against public morals,” it said in a statement.

“It is necessary to address these destructive phenomena and fight them, which drive the dissemination of pornography and feed the minds of teenagers and motivate them to kill and mutilate through well-known cartoons.”

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Hugh Lawson

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