Libyan gunmen keep up siege despite passage of key law


Gunmen in Tripoli kept up their siege of ministries Tuesday despite the adoption of a law to purge Gadhafi-era officials from their posts, with some demanding the government’s resignation.

Different groups at the Justice and Foreign ministries, however, failed to reach a shared position on their new demands or their reasons for pressing the siege.

“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, under pressure from the gunmen, on Sunday passed the controversial law to exclude former Gadhafi regime officials from public posts in a move that could see the prime minister removed from office.

“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 him of “provoking the thuwar,” former rebels who fought later leader Moammar Gadhafi during the 2011 uprising. Zeidan’s government launched a campaign a few weeks ago to remove the militias from the capital, Tripoli.

“We hope that Ali Zeidan recognizes his inability (to govern),” said Kaabar, a former rebel close to the Islamists. “We reject any dialogue with the government,” he said when asked about negotiations with the government.