Libya PM office siege over

2013-03-26 21:45
Ali Zidan (Georges Gobet, AFP)

Ali Zidan (Georges Gobet, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tripoli - About 200 militiamen and protesters demanding the resignation of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan have ended their day-long siege of his office, a group leader said Monday, easing fears of renewed unrest and challenges to the country's parliament and government.

The protest in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, ended after the prime minister sneaked out of the building through a back door late on Sunday, said Osama Kabar, deputy leader of the previously little-known group called the Supreme Council of Libya Revolutionaries.

Zidan's office said the prime minister left Monday for Qatar to attend an Arab League summit.

Kabar, whose group is packed with Islamists and militiamen from the city of Misrata, said the move against Zidan was in response to controversial remarks the prime minister made last week, threatening to summon outside help to confront militias.

Less than two years after the country's uprising-turned-civil war, Libya is struggling to build a unified army and police force amid increasingly powerful militias. The government depends on some of the militias to fill the security vacuum, but has no control over their actions.

"These remarks were very dangerous," Kabar said.

"There is no security problem in Libya," he said. "The real revolutionaries are protecting the country."

Kabar's group also is against appointing members of the former Muammar Gaddafi regime to the Libyan Cabinet.

Zidan, who served as an ambassador under Gaddafi before joining opposition decades ago, retracted his remarks. He made them at a new conference on Tuesday after a short trip to Benghazi where he escaped an assault at the airport. The assault was carried out by disgruntled militiamen demanding salaries.

Coup fears

Many fear the siege on Zidan's office, the assault at the airport and other attacks targeting parliament are all part of a coup.

"Forcing change by weapon is a coup and Libyans have chosen their way through democracy, not through coups," said Fathi Baja, an analyst and member of the former opposition group, the National Transitional Council.

While meeting with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week, Zidan challenged militias, saying: "The government will not break and will not submit to anyone but to Libyans' will through the ballot boxes."

Adding to security woes, the country's parliament and political scene is split into two main factions.

One is an Islamist faction led by the Muslim Brotherhood along with independents. The other is headed by Mahmoud Jibril, a former war-time prime minister whose coalition won the largest number of seats during the country's first free elections in July.

The parliament, which has been criticized for incompetence and its inability to meet its obligations, such as making preparations to draft the country's constitution, has been further weakened by successive attacks by militiamen.

One of the worst attacks occurred in mid-March when the parliament met to discuss a controversial law away from its usual venue. In its current draft form, the law would deprive anyone who served under Gaddafi from 1969 to 2011 from playing any political role. If passed, a whole ruling class would be banned from politics.

While parliamentarians were discussing the law, militiamen stormed the building and fired gunshots in the air. Members of parliament were trapped in the building for several hours before they were allowed to leave. On the way out, the convoy of Mohammed al-Megarif, the head of the parliament, came under fire.


Read more on:    ali zidan  |  libya  |  north africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Saturday Hout Bay - 12:31 PM
    Road name: Hout Bay Main Road
    EXPECT DELAYS between Hout Bay and Constantia due to 2 Oceans Marathon
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.