The head of Libya’s parallel government installed in the country’s east has handed in his resignation following street protests against corruption and falling living standards that turned violent, his spokesman said Monday. Abdallah al-Thani “submitted his resignation late Sunday at a meeting with parliament speaker Aguila Saleh”, spokesman Ezzedine el-Faleh said in a statement received by AFP. Parliament spokesman Abdallah Bleheq said the resignation would be discussed at a meeting of the house, without giving a date.
Demonstrations by hundreds of protesters that kicked off peacefully last Thursday turned violent on Sunday when the headquarters of the parallel eastern administration controlled by strongman Khalifa Haftar was set ablaze. The fire destroyed the main entrance to the building in Libya’s second city of Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 revolution that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Moamer Kadhafi.
Protests, which are rare in areas under Haftar’s control, also erupted in another eastern town, Al-Marj, where police fired live rounds Saturday night after demonstrators forced their way into the police station. At least five people were wounded, according to witnesses and the town’s hospital.
Protesters in Libya’s second city Benghazi set fire to the headquarters of the parallel eastern administration controlled by strongman Khalifa Haftar, a security source said Sunday. “In the early hours of Sunday, a group of demonstrators attacked the cabinet building,” an official from the interior ministry in the eastern government told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They set it on fire before fleeing,” the source said. Police and firefighters quickly arrived, but the fire destroyed the main entrance to the building.
Protests, which are rare in areas under the control of Haftar, also erupted in the eastern town of Al-Marj and police opened fire after demonstrators forced their way into the police station. At least five people were injured, according to witnesses and the hospital. Recent protests in Libya have been mainly in the western region in the capital Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), a rival power-base to Haftar.
However, protests began late Thursday in Benghazi in the east, as anger boiled at regular power cuts, cash shortages and high fuel prices. The eastern administration warned protesters “not to exceed their right to demonstrate and express themselves”. But in a video posted online Sunday, Haftar’s spokesman Ahmad al-Mismari said the strongman and his forces support “peaceful protesters”. “We back this street movement… but we will not allow terrorists and the (Muslim) Brotherhood to take advantage of the situation and infiltrate the ranks of the protesters,” Mismari said. He also warned against any attempt at “undermining security in eastern Libya”.
„Libya: Head of eastern government resigns over public protests“