|Protesters stormed the government office, demanding the sacking of Gaddafi-era officials [Reuters]|
Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, the deputy head of Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) has submitted his resignation after facing large and angry protests in Benghazi.
“My resignation is for the benefit of the nation and is required at this stage,” he told Al Jazeera on Sunday, referring to a “consensus” that he said no longer maintains the “highest national interests”.
Ghoga, who also served as the official spokesman for the NTC, has come under increasing opposition for “opportunism” because of his belated defection from the government of the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. Protesters mobbed and attacked him last week at a Benghazi university.
Residents in Benghazi, the cradle of lasty year’s uprising against Gaddafi, have been protesting for nearly two weeks, demanding more transparency and justice from the country’s interim leaders.
Some protesters have called for the resignation of the entire NTC. On Saturday night, they stormed a government office in Benghazi while Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the NTC chairman, was inside.
Speaking on Libya’s Al Hurra television on Sunday after Ghoga’s resignation, Jalil warned that Libya will fall into civil war if the NTC steps down.
He had earlier warned that the country could be heading towards a “bottomless pit”.
Following Saturday night’s protest, Jalil said he had accepted the resignation of Benghazi’s mayor and elections would be held for a replacement.
He also sought more time, responding to protesters’ grievance that the new government was not doing enough.
But Jalil’s statement did not seem to quell protests, as demonstrators gathered in Benghazi again on Sunday.
“We hoped for security, peace and transparency. We have seen the opposite,” said Miftah Al-Rabia, 28, who was standing outside the NTC’s Benghazi headquarters with a group of protesters.
Another protester, 24-year-old Mohammed Mahmoud, said he fought against Gaddafi during the revolt and wounded his shoulder and hand.
“We fought on the front line and received injuries but we did not see the NTC with us,” he said. “I have one single question: Why has the NTC failed at everything except selling oil? We want to correct the path of the revolution.”