Libya: Protesters stormed the parliament in Tobruk

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Demonstrators stormed the seat of Libya’s parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk on Friday to protest worsening living conditions and a political stalemate in the country, a day after another round of talks between rival sides failed.

According to several television networks, protesters broke into the building and ransacked it. Images released by the media showed thick clouds of black smoke billowing from the building site after angry young protesters burned tires.

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Other media reported that part of the building was on fire. The parliament was empty when the protesters stormed it, as yesterday was a public holiday in Libya.

A bulldozer driven by a protester knocked down part of the building’s fencing, making it easier for protesters to enter it. Cars were set on fire. A short time later, other construction equipment arrived on the scene and began to remove some sections of the building’s exterior walls.

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Other protesters, some holding the green flags of Muammar Gaddafi’s old regime, tossed documents they had grabbed from the offices into the air.

Recognizing “the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully”, the parliament condemned on the night of Friday to Saturday “the acts of vandalism and arson”.

The prime minister of the Tripoli-based government, Abdelhamid Dbeiba, wrote on Twitter that he was “uniting his voice” with that of the protesters, while calling for elections.

The incidents came as Libya, which has been plunged into chaos since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, faces hours-long power outages, grid damage has worsened and many oil facilities have been blocked by rival political disputes. groups.

“We want to have light”, chanted the demonstrators.

“We must recognize our failure and immediately withdraw from the political scene,” said MP Balheir Alshaab, as reported by the Libya al Ahrar television network.

“I call on my colleagues as well as the members of the Council of State (s.s. upper house) to resign en masse in order to respect the wishes of the Libyan people and maintain the stability of Libya,” commented Ziad Dgheim, another member of parliament.

Two rival governments have been vying for power since March: one based in Tripoli, led by Abdelhamid Dbeiba, and the other, led by Fathi Bashaga, supported by the Tobruk parliament and Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the strongman in eastern Libya. The presidential and parliamentary elections originally scheduled for December 2021 have been postponed indefinitely.

The latest round of talks between the two sides, under the auspices of the UN, ended on Thursday in Geneva without any agreement on the constitutional framework that would allow elections to be held. The chairman of the House of Representatives of Tobruk, Aguila Saleh, and the chairman of the Supreme Council of State, based in Tripoli, Khaled al-Masri, participated in the negotiations.


And other similar demonstrations took place yesterday in Tripoli and other Libyan cities. In the capital protesters held portraits of Dbeiba and Bashaga with their faces erased with an X, a sign of their rejection.

Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) on Thursday announced losses of more than $3.5 billion due to the forced shutdown of major oil facilities since mid-April and declared a state of “force majeure” at some facilities.

According to the NOC, production “declined precipitously” and exports almost halved. Added to this are losses of 220 million cubic meters of natural gas per day, needed to supply the electricity grid.

The reduction in natural gas production is exacerbating Libya’s power outages, which last about 12 hours a day.

“Popular protests erupted across Libya, a sign of outrage over deteriorating quality of life and political crisis, but also against those responsible and the UN playing their game,” analyst Tarek Meghrisi wrote on Twitter. of the European Council on International Relations.

Source: Capital

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