In eastern Libya, protesters break into the parliament building.
Libya: In a show of discontent over months of futile attempts to put the divided nation on a course toward elections, protesters on Friday broke into the Tobruk building housing the parliament in eastern Libya and set fire to portions of it.

Taher Amaizig, a witness, claimed that thousands of people participated in a march to the parliament building to demand the dissolution of the current political authorities and the holding of elections. According to him, protesters forced their way inside after one of them was shot in the legs as security personnel tried to stop them.

Social media users shared videos of demonstrators walking past mounds of burning objects. In Libya, Friday marks the start of the weekend, therefore it is possible that the building was deserted when it was stormed. Unknown protesters’ motivations for attacking the structure were
In numerous locations throughout Libya early in the day, there were other protests calling for elections.

The disturbance began a day after negotiators from Libya’s opposing powers, one based in the east and the other in the west, were unable to come to an agreement at UN-mediated negotiations in Geneva on a constitutional framework for national elections.

After more than ten years of conflict, the nation is once more divided between rival governments, regressing despite a year of hesitant moves toward unification.

Oil-rich Since the NATO-backed rebellion that deposed and murdered Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 and gave rise to a rise in competing governments, Libya has been wracked by conflict. Military leader Khalifa Haftar supports the administration in the east, while the UN also supports the administration in Tripoli, the country’s capital. Different militias and international powers back either side.

Longtime allies of Haftar include Tobruk, where the Libyan House of Representatives is located. More recently, Fathy Basghagha was chosen by the parliament to lead a government that competes with the Tripoli-based administration. Former interior minister Bashagha, who has considerable influence, is currently running a separate government out of Sirte.

Elections were scheduled for December 24 in Libya, however they were postponed by the Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah-led temporary government in Tripoli. The failure dealt a severe setback to global attempts to put an end to a decade of anarchy in Libya.

The poor economic climate also contributed to the protests on Friday. Earlier in the day, hundreds of people protested in Tripoli against the political turmoil as well as against electricity shortages and rising petrol and food prices.


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