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Libya's defense minister resigned on Tuesday in protest at a siege by gunmen of two government ministries that he denounced as an assault on democracy almost two years after the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
He was the first cabinet minister to quit in a crisis over the siege, which armed groups refused to lift even after parliament bowed on Sunday to their main demand by banning from government posts any senior official who served under Gaddafi.
"I will never be able to accept that politics (can) be practiced by the power of weapons ... This is an assault against the democracy I have sworn to protect," Defense Minister Mohammed al-Bargathi said.
The positioning comes after a series of disturbing security developments. Protests broke out Sunday in the capital. The U.S., Britain and France -- the coalition that overthrew Muammar Qaddafi -- issued a joint warning Wednesday to the militias to observe the rule of law, amid concerns about rising tensions between armed rival factions. In Benghazi, there were two explosions at police stations.
April 23, 2013 “The U.S. Embassy in Libya condemns today’s attack on the French Embassy in Tripoli and extends its condolences to all those who were hurt as a result of the bombing. We look to the Libyan government to continue its efforts to strengthen security across Libya. Such violence is a direct attack against all Libyans who fought a revolution in order to enjoy a democratic future with security and prosperity. We want Libyans to achieve their aspirations peacefully.”
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- A car bomb exploded just outside the French Embassy in Tripoli early Tuesday morning, injuring two French security guards and a Libyan girl, officials said. The blast was so powerful it blew the front wall off the embassy. Homes can cars adjacent to the embassy sustained heavy damage, and the windows of nearby buildings in this upscale, largely residential neighborhood were also blown out. During a visit to the area, Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi said a 13-year-old girl in a nearby house was injured in the attack and will be taken to Tunisia for treatment. Barasi, who condemned the attack, said he had spoken with the French ambassador to Libya, who assured him he will not leave Tripoli. The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the attack.
P3 Statement on Situation in Libya We call on all Libyans to refrain from armed protest and violence during this difficult time in the democratic transition. The Libyan people bravely fought and overthrew a dictator in order to ensure a stable, free, and prosperous future for themselves and their children in a country governed by the rule of law. As Libya manages this challenging transition, it is vital that the country's institutions operate free from armed intimidation. Peaceful deliberation of legislation and Government decisions was unheard of under the Qadhafi regime, and is part of the honourable struggle for building a better society. The democratically elected representatives and leaders of the Libyan people must be able to carry out their duties and move forward with the constitution motivated by their responsibility to the Libyans who elected them rather than by the threat of force. The international community is observing the country with concern during this critical time in the transition. We support Libya's successful transition from ruthless dictatorship to democracy, stability and prosperity. This means respecting and supporting state institutions and their democratically elected leaders. Following the adoption by the GNC of the Political Isolation Law, we call on all Libyans to work together to realize the goals of the 17 February revolution and encourage the development of a democratic state that Qadhafi never permitted.
May 09, 2013 The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Libya and strongly advises against all but essential travel to Tripoli and all travel to Benghazi, Bani Walid, and southern Libya, including border areas and the regions of Sabha and Kufra. Because of ongoing instability and violence, the Department’s ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in these regions of Libya is extremely limited. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated March 11, 2013. In early May, the security situation in Tripoli deteriorated when armed groups seized Libyan government buildings in a dispute over a law regarding officials of the former regime. In response, on May 9, the Department of State ordered the departure of a number of U.S. government personnel in Tripoli. The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable. Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have occurred throughout the country. U.S. citizens should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens traveling to, or remaining in, Libya should use caution and limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, and maintain security awareness at all times. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Libya enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Members of the Libyan security forces and civilians check one of the two police stations that were attacked on May 10, 2013 in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Bomb attacks targeted two police stations in Benghazi causing extensive material damage but no casualties, a security official said. AFP PHOTO/ABDULLAH DOMA Read more: www.dailystar.com.lb... (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: www.dailystar.com.lb...)
Student abducted outside Foreign Ministry By Hadi Fornaji. Tripoli, 10 May 2013: A student from Tripoli University was abducted outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this evening, beaten and reportedly held in the Suq Al-Juma district for several hours. His abductors are said to have been militiamen. The man had been taking part in an anti-militia demonstration outside the Ministry when, according to friends, he got into a heated argument with someone, possibly a militiaman, shortly after 10 pm. They say he was beaten, carried to a white Land Cruiser, bundled inside and driven away. The man managed to speak to a reporter at 10.45 pm. In whispered tones, he confirmed his abduction and that he was being held in Suq Al-Juma, before the line went dead. He was released at 12.30 am. He is said to have been savagely beaten, and has injuries to his head and face. He is reported to be very shaken by the ordeal. This evening four other people, including a woman, were seen being forced into cars and driven away.
I did read about pro democracy protesters driving out militants, which is a good thing. I also did find articles talking about a French embassy under attack just last month.
Military on alert for possible evac of embassy in Tripoli
Militiamen who have been besieging the Foreign Ministry this evening fled when hundreds of pro-democracy supporters arrived at the building to demonstrate their support for the government.
Around 200 demonstrators had marched from Algeria Square along the Corniche to the Ministry but were quickly joined by others along the way, overwhelming the couple of dozen or so militiamen who were still mounting their siege outside the Ministry buildings.
Earlier in Algeria Square, around 400 anti-militia protesters brought traffic to a halt. Placards read: “With our blood we will defence the legitimacy of the government”, “No to bringing down the government with arms” and “Get rid of the guns in your hands and start building Libya”.
More than 100 protesters have broken into the Libyan National Congress, disrupting the MPs’ work. The demonstrators are infuriated by the proposed make-up of the country’s new government, saying it is not representative enough.
The demonstrators, who come from the western town of Zawiyah, one of Libya’s oil hubs, traveled 50km from their home to the capital after the prime minister failed to select their nominee as oil minister.
"After we heard the list, everyone in Zawiyah was angry.
These were the incredible scenes in Benghazi as tens of thousands of ordinary citizens marched on the Islamic extremists in their compounds and drove them out with shouts, placards and sheer courage