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Injuries as protesters storm Libya parliament

Armed protesters storm the parliament building while legislators were in session, shooting and wounding two MPs.

Last updated: 02 Mar 2014 21:06
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Residents blocked roads in the area near to parliament demanding for the release of protesters arrested overnight [AFP]

Two members of Libya's interim parliament have been shot and wounded by protesters who stormed the General National Congress in downtown Tripoli, officials and witnesses said.

"Two (GNC) members were hit by bullets when they tried to leave the venue in their cars," Nuri Abu Sahmein, the parliament speaker, told Al-Nabaa, blaming "armed protesters" for the shooting.

Dozens of angry protesters entered the General National Congress (GNC) on Sunday, with some of them rampaging through the building, witnesses said.

The protesters demanded the dissolution of the GNC and railed against the overnight "kidnapping" of demonstrators from a sit-in outside the parliament building.

They later attacked and "abused" the deputies, GNC spokesman Omar Hmidan said on Al-Nabaa television, adding the officials' cars had been destroyed.

One member of the GNC told AFP that the protesters, mostly young people armed with knives and sticks, entered the premises chanting "Resign, resign".

Two (GNC) members were hit by bullets when they tried to leave the venue in their cars,"

Nuri Abu Sahmein, Congress speaker

Media outlets said congressman Abdelrahman al-Swihli was also hit by a bullet while trying to flee the scene, but no confirmation has been made yet.

According to demonstrators, the gunmen belonged to the Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries, a former rebel group which operates under the GNC's command.

Resignations

Meanwhile, the head of Libya's election commission and two of its members resigned on Sunday, state media reported, a day after it released initial results of a vote for the country's constitutional panel.

Nuri al-Abari, the head of the commission, did not say why he resigned, although it appeared to be out of concern over Libya's volatile political situation and tension over the election, reported the Associated Press.

The February vote for the 60-member constitutional panel was marred by violence, with several voting stations coming under attack and security forces failing to secure others.

The commission said late on Saturday that only 47 of the seats were filled, with 13 left empty because voting had been disrupted or protesting minority groups boycotted the vote.

It is not clear whether the parliament will accept the resignations. The result of the vote is to be finalised after a 12-day period for complaints and review. It is also not clear what the parliament will do to fill the 13 empty seats.

Three years after the uprising, the government and GNC have come under increasing criticism from Libyans who accuse them of corruption and failing to provide them with a better life.

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Source:
Agencies
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