Monday, August 8, 2022

UN chastises attack on Libya’s parliamentary headquarters

CAIRO ( Associated Press) – A senior UN official for Libya on Saturday condemned the storming of parliament’s headquarters by angry protesters as part of protests in various cities against the political class and deteriorating economic conditions.

Hundreds of protesters marched in the streets of the capital, Tripoli, and other Libyan cities on Friday, with many attacking and setting fire to government buildings, including the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.

“The people’s right to protest peacefully must be respected and protected, but riots and acts of vandalism such as the storming of the House of Representatives’ headquarters in Tobruk late yesterday are totally unacceptable,” said Stephanie Williams, the UN’s special adviser on Libya, said on Twitter. .

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Friday’s protests came a day after the leaders of parliament and another legislative chamber in Tripoli failed to reach an agreement on elections during UN – mediated talks in Geneva. The dispute now focuses on the eligibility requirements for candidates, according to the United Nations.

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Libya was unable to hold elections in December, following challenges such as legal disputes, controversial presidential hopefuls and the presence of rogue militias and foreign fighters in the country.

The failure to hold the vote was a major blow to international efforts to bring peace to the Mediterranean nation. It has opened a new chapter in its long-running political impasse, with two rival governments now able to claim after preliminary steps towards unity in recent years.

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The protesters, frustrated by years of chaos and division, called for the current political class to be removed and elections to be held. They have also rallied against dire economic conditions in the oil-rich country, where prices for fuel and bread have risen and power outages are a regular occurrence.

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There were fears that militias across the country could stop the protests as they did in 2020 protests when they opened fire on people protesting in appalling economic conditions.

Sabadell Jose, the European Union’s envoy to Libya, called on protesters to “avoid any kind of violence”. He said Friday’s demonstrations showed that people “want change through elections and that their voices need to be heard”.

Libya has been devastated by conflict since a NATO-backed uprising overthrew and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country was then for years divided between rival administrations in the east and west, each supported by different militias and foreign governments.

Nation World News Desk
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