Friday, May 31, 2024
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Protesters storm into Parliament building in Libya

BENGHAZI, LIBYA (AP) – Demonstrators broke into the building that houses the eastern Libya-based Parliament in Tobruk on Friday, setting fire to parts of it amid protests over months of failed efforts to set the divided country on a path toward elections.

One witness, Taher Amaizig, said thousands joined a march to the Parliament building calling for the current political powers to be dissolved and elections to be held.

He said that as security guards tried to prevent people from entering, a protester was shot in the legs and other demonstrators then forced their way inside.

Videos circulated on social media showed protesters filing past burning piles. Friday is the first day of the weekend in Libya, meaning the building was likely empty when it was stormed. It was unclear what protesters intended by targetting the building.

Other protests demanding elections were staged earlier in the day in several cities around Libya.

The unrest comes a day after representatives of Libya’s rival powers – one based in the east of the country and the other in the west – failed at United Nations (UN)-mediated talks in Geneva to reach agreement on a constitutional framework for national elections. After more than a decade of war, the country is once again split between competing administrations, sliding backwards despite a year of tentative steps towards unity.

A fire inside the building used by Libya’s Tobruk-based Parliament building in the country’s east. PHOTO: AFP