Libya protesters force internet shutdown

Anti-government protesters storm telecoms provider's offices, forcing staff to cut service in country's south and west.

    Knife-wielding protesters have stormed the headquarters of Libya's largest telecoms provider and forced an eight-hour shutdown of internet access in the south and west of the country.

    Dozens of protesters calling for Prime Minister Ali Zeidan to resign occupied Libyan Telecom and Technology's headquarters in the eastern suburbs of the capital, Tripoli, on Saturday, forcing staff to cut internet service, said LTT communications chief Mourad Bilal.

    "Thanks to the activation of a Plan B by our telecommunications technicians, internet has now been restored in the regions that experienced outages," Bilal told AFP news agency.

    Besides calling for the prime minister's ouster, Bilal said, the group condemned the blockade of vital oil terminals in eastern Libya by local security guards demanding regional autonomy.

    The months-long blockade has dealt a blow to the country's economy and slashed oil production from nearly 1.5 million barrels per day to just 250,000.

    Since the overthrow of Libya's longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, authorities have struggled to impose their authority and stem rising lawlessness.



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