Protesters storm Libya's parliament building in Tobruk

World Saturday 02/July/2022 06:59 AM
By: DW
Protesters storm Libya's parliament building in Tobruk
The conference centre in Tobruk, pictured in this 2021 archive image, is currently used as the parliament of Libya

Libyans in several cities took to the streets on Friday to express their anger with the government over power cuts.

Local television stations reported that protesters broke into the building of the parliament in Tobruk and committed acts of vandalism. Images also showed columns of black smoke coming from outside the building.

Security forces protecting the parliament withdrew from the site, Reuters cited an eyewitness as saying.

Libya's parliament, or House of Representatives, has been based in Tobruk, hundreds of kilometers east of the capital, Tripoli, since an east-west split in 2014 after the uprising and western intervention that ousted longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi three years earlier.

A rival body, formally known as the High Council of State, is based in Tripoli.
Protests across the divided country

In Tripoli's Martyrs' Square, several hundred people gathered to shout slogans demanding electricity, criticizing armed factions and politicians and demanding elections in the capital's biggest protests against the ruling elite for years.

Smaller protests of dozens of demonstrators also took place in each of Benghazi and Tobruk and some smaller towns, showing how anger at the situation extends across the geographical divide between the country's rival forces.

Libya has endured several days of power cuts, worsened by the blockade of several oil facilities against the backdrop of political rivalries.

"We want the lights to work," protesters chanted.