Tripoli, 1 May:
Several hundred armed revolutionaries (thuwar) from the Union of Revolutionary Battalions surrounded the NTC’s offices in Tripoli this morning . . .[restrict]demanding that they be given a direct voice in governing the country. They also want seats be assigned to them in the new National Congress and be granted an amnesty of for any wrongdoings committed during the revolution.
Mustafa Abdul Jalil agreed to meet their leader named only as Al-Azari and other representatives, one of whom was named as Abdurrahman Al-Gaja.
Sources at the NTC who were present at the NTC’s headquarters told Libya Herald that Jail had agreed to the first demand, refused the second and said that he would make an announcement on the third on Thursday. The NTC’s spokesman, Mohammed Al-Hareizi, was unreachable on the phone for confirmation.
The thuwar listed six demands in a leaflet they handed out:
- Revolutionaries to be represented on the NTC and in the government;
- A number of seats should be reserved for them in the National Congress; this could be done by increasing the number of seats on the body or by give then a portion of the existing planned 200 seats. They also want a law to exclude anyone from standing who had connections to the Qaddafi regime;
- An amnesty for thuwar for any actions taken during the revolution;
- An extension to the period of registering voters for the election from two weeks to 30 days and of candidates from to 25 days;
- Proper care for all injured thuwar; and
- Proper distribution of the grant being paid to the thuwar.
According to one of the sources, there were as between 300- 400 fully armed thuwar surrounding the NTC’s offices opposite the Rixos Hotel with gun-mounted trucks. He said that officials had argued with the revolutionaries, criticising them for turning up to the premises with guns.
He said they came from a number of different brigades across the country. He was not convinced that Al-Azari was their real leader. Others were behind this, he said. The The union is, in fact,said to represent some 200 brigades. It is also said to have its core in Zintan.
After meeting with Jalil, the revolutionaries left around 12.30 pm.
Agreeing to accept revolutionaries into the NTC and government as a result of force is likely to be seen as a dangerous departure by many Libyans, even if it will not be a difficult procedure as far as the NTC is concerned. Full membership of the NTC remains a secret. When asked Jalil has repeated said that names are published on the NTC’s website. But there is no full list on the site.
Bringing them into government which has just seven weeks left before the elections is almost certainly unworkable.