Libya siege continues despite gov’t passes law

Libya siege continues despite gov’t passes law

TRIPOLI - Agence France-Presse
Gunmen demanded yesterday the Libyan government’s resignation as they besieged ministries despite the adoption of a law to purge officials from the regime of Moammar Gadhafi from their posts.

“We are determined to continue our movement until the departure of (Prime Minister) Ali Zeidan,” said Osama Kaabar, a leader of the militias who had promised to lift their siege if the law was passed.

The General National Congress (GNC), under pressure from the gunmen, voted May 5 through the controversial law to exclude former Gadhafi regime officials from public posts in a move that could see the premier removed from office. Armed men in vehicles equipped with machineguns and anti-aircraft weapons still surrounded the foreign and justice ministries yesterday.

“The adoption of the law on political exclusion is a major step in the right direction. But we will take our time to examine certain aspects of the law,” said Kaabar who is also a vice president of the Superior Council of Libyan Tuwwar (revolutionaries).

“On the other hand we are determined to bring down the government of Ali Zeidan,” he said, accusing the premier of “provoking the thuwar,” former rebels who fought Gadhafi’s forces during the 2011 armed uprising.

Under the law passed, all those who held key official posts from September 1, 1969 when Gadhafi took power, until the fall of his regime in October 2011 will be excluded from government.

The ban will remain in force for 10 years, according to the text. The draft law had caused a stir among Libya’s political elite, as senior members of the government could be affected, among them Zeidan and GNC President Mohamed Megaryef. Both were diplomats under Kadhafi before joining the opposition in exile.