Protesters storm Libya’s parliament building amid political stalemate and power cuts

On Friday, demonstrators stormed the Libyan parliament building in the eastern city of Tobruk, demonstrating against deteriorating living conditions and political stalemate, Libyan media reported.

Several TV stations said protesters had managed to break into the building and committed acts of vandalism, while media showed images of thick columns of black smoke billowing from its perimeter as angry young protesters burned tires.

Other media reported that part of the building was set on fire.

The parliament building was empty as Friday falls on a weekend in Libya.

Libya’s parliament, or House of Representatives, has been based in Tobruk, hundreds of kilometers (miles) east of the capital Tripoli, since an east-west split in 2014 following the revolt that toppled the dictator Muammar Gaddafi three years earlier.

A rival body, officially known as the High Council of State, is based in Tripoli.

Footage on Friday showed a protester driving a bulldozer successfully smashing through part of a gate, allowing other protesters to enter more easily, while officials’ cars were set on fire.

Other demonstrators, some waving the green flags of the Gaddafi regime, threw administrative documents in the air.

Libya suffered several days of power cuts, aggravated by the blocking of several oil installations amid political rivalries.

“We want the lights to work,” protesters chanted.

Lawmaker Balkheir Alshaab told Libya’s Al-Ahrar channel: “We must recognize our failure and immediately withdraw from the political scene.”

Talks fail to resolve deadlock Presidential and parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for December last year, were meant to cap a UN-led peace process after the last major cycle of violence ended in 2020.

But the vote never took place due to several controversial candidacies and deep disagreements over the legal basis for the ballot between rival power centers in the east and west.

>> The reasons for the delays of the “impossible” presidential election in Libya

The United Nations said Thursday that talks between rival Libyan institutions aimed at breaking the deadlock had failed to resolve key differences.

Speaker of Parliament Aguila Saleh and Speaker of the High Council of State Khaled al-Mishri met at the UN in Geneva for three days of talks to discuss a draft constitutional framework for the elections .

Although some progress has been made, it has not been enough to move towards elections, with the two sides still at odds over who can run for president, says UN envoy to Libya Stephanie Williams , which facilitated the talks.

The prospect of elections seems more distant than ever since the HoR, elected in 2014, appointed a rival government to replace that of interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, arguing that his term has expired.

Recent weeks have seen repeated skirmishes between armed groups in Tripoli, raising fears of a return to full-scale conflict.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation said on Monday that a blockade of oil installations in the central coastal region of Sirte meant it could declare force majeure, a measure releasing it from its contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond its control. .

A blockade of two major oil export terminals and several oilfields began in April after the east-based parliament appointed former interior minister Fathi Bashagha as prime minister.


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