Armed men surround Libya's justice ministry

Gunmen demand former aides to deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi be barred from senior government posts.

    Armed men in pick-up trucks have surrounded Libya's justice ministry to step up demands for former aides to deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi to be barred from senior government posts, an official says.

    "Several armed men in vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft guns surrounded the ministry of justice," Walid Ben Rabha, head of the ministry's information department, said on Tuesday.

    "They asked the minister and staff present to leave their offices and close the ministry."

    Tensions between the government and armed groups have been rising in recent weeks since a campaign was launched to dislodge the armed groups from their strongholds in the capital Tripoli.

    Armed men first ringed the foreign ministry on Sunday and have targeted other state buildings to push for a law to be passed to ban former aides to Gaddafi, who was overthrown and killed in a 2011 uprising, from government service.

    The unrest prompted the General National Congress to postpone its next sitting, scheduled for Tuesday, to Sunday.

    A spokesman said this would give them time to study the legislation the protesters are calling for.

    If passed, the law could force out several long-serving ministers as well as the congress leader, depending on the wording adopted.

    The build-up in armed protests this week have increased  security fears in Tripoli and prompted the German embassy to
    suspend some activities.

    Protesters have also unsuccessfully tried to storm the interior ministry.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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