The Craters in a Country
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Libyan protesters torched the parliament building in the eastern city of Tobruk over the weekend, vowing to continue the violence until all of the country’s ruling elites resign from power, the Middle East Eye reported.
On Friday, thousands of people took to the streets across the country to protest the chronic power cuts, which have lengthened to 18 hours a day. But Friday’s demonstrations soon evolved into a broad call to remove Libya’s political leaders and call for new elections. The protest movement comes after months of political deadlock between Libya’s eastern and western factions over the control of the government.
Stephanie Williams, head of the United Nations mission in Libya, said the demonstrations served as a rallying cry for the political elites to set aside their differences and organize elections.
The oil-rich nation has been plagued by spiking poverty rates, fuel shortages and instability since the violent ouster of autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Libya’s warring sides ended their almost decade-long conflict in 2020 following an UN-led peace process that was to usher in new parliamentary and presidential elections in the country.
The long-awaited elections were scheduled for December 2021 but they never took place due to contentious candidacies and major disputes about the polls’ legality.
The eastern-based parliament declared that Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah’s interim government in Tripoli was no longer valid and appointed Fathi Bashagha as his replacement. But Dbeibah has refused to relinquish power and has called on Libya’s political leaders to quit and hold new elections following the protests.
Last week, UN-mediated negotiations in Geneva tried to resolve the impasse between opposing Libyan factions but failed to make a breakthrough.