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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Libya: End of the Honeymoon Period

Libya: End of the Honeymoon Period
By: Reem al-Barki
Published Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Libyan capital Tripoli is awaiting a renewed wave of protests as the new parliament prepares an emergency law to contain the unrest.

Tripoli, Libya The angry protests sweeping the streets of Tripoli on Wednesday closed in on the vicinity of the Turkish Rixos hotel and the General National Assembly (parliament) headquarters.

Demonstrators besieged the building and managed to attack and assault some of the MPs.

In the luxurious Corinthia hotel, angry protesters reached health minister Fatima al-Hamoresh. She held a press conference on Wednesday night to comment on the incident.

Hamoresh maintained that she had come under attack for attempting to fight corruption ever since her appointment. The signs held by demonstrators demanded her resignation for failing to properly handle the compensation of the wounded during the revolution.

She insisted that she had called the interior ministry several times, but did not receive protection.

While everyone agrees that the security situation will be a top priority for the new national assembly, it is clear that it remains out of the government's control.

In the last few months, tombs have been vandalized, army officers have been assassinated, and parliamentary sessions have been suspended due to the siege by demonstrators.

Wednesday's parliamentary session had to be adjourned when protesters surrounded the parliament building demanding the resignation of prime minister Mustafa Abushagur, who has barely begun his term.

The building was evacuated, leaving many to wonder who is behind the chaos spreading across the country.

The demonstrators justified their call for Abushagur's resignation by saying that the newly elected prime minister put his hand on his heart during the US national anthem at the funeral of ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The funeral was held in the capital, Tripoli, and attended by the US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and many foreign missions in Libya.

In the meantime, the national assembly extended the deadline for forming the government. It gave the prime minister ten extra days.

The government is speeding up efforts to organize the security forces to protect the country.

National assembly member Ahmad al-Naqi told Al-Akhbar that the problem is with the young men who are carrying arms and believe that they should be county's the rightful rulers.

He was, nonetheless, optimistic about the dialogue underway with some of the militia commanders.

There are negotiations discussing integrating some of them into state institutions, while giving the necessary health care and vocational rehabilitation to the others and providing them with job opportunities.

He added that this is expected to dominate much of the discussions that will take place in the coming parliamentary sessions.

He insisted that there will be neither stability nor security unless the militias are disbanded and some of its members integrated into the state.

Meanwhile, MPs from Benghazi released a statement calling on the people of the city to postpone their demonstration on Friday in order to avoid further instability.

They maintained their commitment to ensuring the release of the emergency funds for the city, disbanding the militias, and putting an end to extra-judicial arrests.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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