Libyan protesters storm, set fire to parliament in Tobruk
Tripoli – Protesters stormed Libya’s parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk on Friday and set parts of it ablaze, venting their anger at deteriorating living conditions and months of political deadlock.
Black smoke billowed as men burned tyres and torched cars after one protester had smashed through the compound’s gate with a bulldozer and others attacked the walls with construction tools, local media reported.
The building was empty, as Friday falls on the weekend in Libya. Libya’s House of Representatives has been based in Tobruk, more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, since an east-west schism in 2014 that came three years after a mass popular revolution toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
A separate legislature, formally known as the High Council of State, is based in Tripoli as the oil-rich North African country remains divided between rival administrations vying for control. Libya, sweltering in summer heat, has endured days of power cuts — a situation worsened by the blockade of key oil facilities amid the entrenched political rivalries.
“We want the lights to work,” chanted protesters, some of whom were brandishing.