Libyan foreign ministry still under siege

2013-04-29 22:24
Demonstration in Tripoli. (Afp)

Demonstration in Tripoli. (Afp)

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

Tripoli - Dozens of gunmen kept Libya's foreign ministry under siege for a second day on Monday, as violence spread when police officers firing their guns in the air stormed the interior ministry demanding higher wages.

An AFP correspondent and witnesses said that around 30 vehicles, some mounted with anti-aircraft guns, and unidentified armed men have encircled the foreign ministry in Tripoli since Sunday, demanding it sack officials from the previous regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Banners demanding the adoption of a law that would enforce the expulsion of Gaddafi-era officials were Monday plastered on the gate of the ministry building.

"The ministry is closed," Aymen Mohamed Aboudeina, one of the protesters, told AFP, adding that "talks will be initiated in the coming hours with the concerned ministries".

He said the siege would be lifted when the protesters' demands are met through a vote in the General National Congress - the highest political authority in Libya - on a bill calling for the expulsion of former regime employees.

Separately, a group of angry police officers entered the compound of the interior ministry on the airport road, firing their guns into air and demanding promotions and salary hikes, witnesses said.

"The situation has calmed down now. Officers just wanted to make their voices heard against injustices", a security source told AFP.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan denounced the encircling of the foreign ministry and other attacks targeting the interior ministry and the national television in Tripoli.

He appealed to Libyans to support the government in resisting armed groups "who want to destabilise the country and terrorise foreigners and embassies," but added that the government would "not come into confrontation with anyone".

Former officials

The Congress is studying proposals for a law to exclude former Gaddafi regime officials from top government and political posts.

The proposed law could affect several senior figures in the government and has caused waves in the country's political class.

In March, demonstrators encircled the assembly itself, trapping members in the building for several hours as they called for the adoption of the law.

After the siege was lifted, gunmen targeted Congress chief Mohammed Megaryef's motorcade without causing any casualties.

Libya's government is struggling to assert its influence across the country, where former rebels who fought Gaddafi in the 2011 uprising still control large amounts of territory.

The recent events illustrate the rise in violence in Tripoli where a car bomb struck the French embassy on Tuesday, wounding two French guards and a girl living nearby.

Libya's security forces too have faced attacks in the east of the country where a police station was a target on Saturday and a defence ministry brigade came under attack from unknown assailants during the weekend, killing one soldier.

Last year the eastern city of Benghazi saw a deadly attack on the US consulate there killing ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

These attacks are often blamed on Islamist extremists, but the Libyan authorities do not rule out possibilities of former regime supporters aiming to destabilise the country.

The attacks reflect the inability of the authorities to restore order in the country where heavily armed militias with varied ideologies prevail.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
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.