HomeWorldProtesters storm Libya's eastern parliament building in Tobruk, local media report

Protesters storm Libya’s eastern parliament building in Tobruk, local media report

Libya has been divided between warring factions since 2014, following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Moammar Gadhafi.

The country’s interim prime minister, Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, head of the UN-backed Government of National Unity (GNU), is based in Tripoli, in western Libya. The parliament building in Tobruk, in the east of the country, is the seat of a rival government led by Prime Minister Fathy Bashag.

Libyan media outlets, including LANA, the internationally recognized official government news agency, and Almarsad, a major media outlet, reported that protesters entered the building in Tobruk on Friday.

Several cities, including Tripoli, have witnessed demonstrations over deteriorating living conditions and calls for the dissolution of political bodies, according to reports.

Videos posted on social media showed protesters inside the parliament building chanting “long live Libya.” Other videos showed people collecting trash and tires in front of the building and setting them on fire. The building was empty when protesters stormed it.

Dbeibeh said in a Twitter post that he supported the demands of protesters across the country.

“All [political] the bodies must go, including the government, and there is no way to do it except through elections,” said Dbeibeh, referring to the Bashag government.

“The parties that obstruct the elections are known by the Libyan people and the same ones that obstructed the budgets and closed the oil, which contributed to the worsening of the crisis they are experiencing,” he added.

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Dbeibeh was appointed following UN-brokered talks in Geneva last year. He was tasked with leading the transitional government to elections, but that process ended in disarray late last year due to disputes over electoral rules, including the legitimacy of his own candidacy. According to his rule, he survived an assassination attempt at the beginning of this year.

After elections were postponed in December, Libya’s eastern parliament appointed Bashaga to lead the country.

Dbeibah does not recognize Bashaga as prime minister, and Bashaga accuses Dbeibah of losing his mandate after the postponement of the vote.

The GNU Home Office issued a statement on Friday saying all Libyans have the right to protest as long as they are peaceful demonstrations and “in accordance with the laws”.

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