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Officials say east Libya govt resigns amid protests

Filed on September 14, 2020 | Last updated on September 14, 2020 at 12.53 pm
Abdallah Al Thani, Libya, Aquila Saleh
Protesters angry over the area's crippling electricity shortages, set fire to tires on Thursday in Benghazi, Libya.


Interim govt of Abdallah Al Thani has resigned amid protests that erupted across the country over dire living conditions

An interim government in eastern Libya resigned on Sunday amid street protests that erupted across the divided country over dire living conditions, officials said.

Prime Minister Abdallah Al Thani submitted the resignation of his government to Aguila Saleh, speaker of the eastern-based House of Representatives, said the government's spokesman, Ezzel-Deen Al Falih.

Abdallah Abaihig, a spokesman for the parliament, confirmed the government's resignation, saying lawmakers would review it in their next meeting. No date set for the session.

The parliament on Friday accused the Central Bank and government in the capital of Tripoli of "plundering" the country and neglecting the east, in apparent efforts to deflect blame for the deterioration of public services.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a Nato-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

Both the parliament and Al Thani's government, which is not internationally recognised, are allied with Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces, which controls Libya's east and south.

Hundreds of young Libyans flooded the streets of Benghazi and other eastern cities in the past couple of days in a spontaneous outburst of anger over the area's crippling electricity shortages.

Protesters in eastern Libya set piles of tyres a blaze and blocked traffic in several major roads. On Saturday, protesters attempted to storm a security headquarters in eastern town of Marj.

The UN Support Mission in Libya, or UNSMIL, said at least one civilian was reportedly killed and three others were wounded.

It called for "a thorough and immediate" investigation into "the reported excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations" and the speedy release of a number of detained protesters.

The demonstrations mirror similar recent protests over power cuts and corruption in the capital Tripoli and other western cities in recent weeks. The protests have led to a power struggle within the UN-supported government.

The recent protests across Libya were "motivated by deep-seated frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity and water, rampant corruption, misgovernance, and a lack of service provision throughout the country," the UNSMIL said.

The UN mission said the protests underscore "the urgent need to lift the oil blockade" and the return to a "full and inclusive" political process to end Libya's yearslong conflict.

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