Libya vows democratic path after parliament attack

Libya vows democratic path after parliament attack
Updated 15 May 2014

Libya vows democratic path after parliament attack

Libya vows democratic path after parliament attack

TRIPOLI: Libyan authorities vowed Monday to pursue a democratic transition in the face of mounting lawlessness after two MPs were shot when protesters stormed the country’s transitional parliament.
The two General National Congress members were shot and wounded Sunday as armed protesters stormed their building in Tripoli. In separate violence, a French engineer was killed in the restive eastern city of Benghazi.
“I assure you we are committed to the path of the February 17 revolution and to pursue the democratic process,” GNC president Nuri Abu Sahmein said, referring to the uprising that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s four-decade rule.
Speaking on television, Abu Sahmein said the attack was a “flagrant aggression on the seat of legitimate sovereignty,” and urged former rebels who ousted Qaddafi to protect state institutions.
On Monday, ex-rebels equipped with pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns were posted around the GNC building, where at least five burnt-out cars testified to the previous day’s violence.
Abu Sahmein said the GNC — Libya’s highest political authority — was examining a roadmap for the handover of power “as quickly as possible” to an elected body.
The GNC was elected in July 2012 to an 18-month mandate but it stirred popular anger by extending from early February until end of December.
Under pressure from demonstrators, it later announced early elections but gave no date for the vote.
The head of an elected panel tasked with preparing elections, Nuri Al-Abbar, resigned his post Sunday saying Libya had to “end political tensions and restore order” before holding polls.
Libya’s political class is deeply divided, and GNC members are still demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, although they have failed to oust him in a vote of confidence.
Dozens of armed demonstrators on Sunday demanded the GNC be dissolved and railed against the “kidnapping” the previous night of participants in a sit-in protest outside the parliament building.
They later attacked and “abused” deputies, GNC spokesman Omar Hmidan said.
One GNC member told AFP that the protesters, mostly young people armed with knives and sticks, entered the premises chanting “Resign, resign.”
Two members were “hit by bullets when they tried to leave the venue in their cars,” said Abu Sahmein.
For security reasons, the GNC met Monday in a Tripoli luxury hotel to discuss the previous day’s incidents, a deputy said.