By Sami Zaptia and Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 1 November:
Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) was forced to suspend its Thursday sessions due to repeated incursions by the thuwar (militias) earlier today.
The demonstrators had continued their overnight to protest in opposition to some members of Prime Minister Zeidan’s newly approved government. At some stages Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday those charged with securing the GNC building seemed to lose control.
Shots were fired in the air and there was a fear that things could get out of hand as the demonstrators seemed able to occupy the GNC hall at will.
Some GNC members had become unsettled by these continuous incursions into the GNC hall by demonstrators, despite the apparent heavy security outside the hall.
The protesters demanded the removal from Ali Zeidan’s government of any minister who had held a prominent position under the Qaddafi regime or who had worked with his son’s, including Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi.
Six members of the government were referred to the Integrity Commission by the GNC yesterday, with protesters demanding the removal of all of them, claiming that they had unacceptable links with the former regime. In particular, they mentioned the new Minister for Religious Affairs, Abdulsalam Mohammed Abusaad, on account of his alleged links with former spy chief Mousa Kousa, and the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ali Al-Aujali, who is said to have been close to Saif Qaddafi.
Some also complained that it was the Integrity Commission itself that had been charged with determining the future of the ministers, arguing that the decision should not rest with that body alone. “We all know that the Integrity Commission failed in the past to exclude well known personalities who are to date holding positions of influence in the new Libya”, one of the protesters said.
Questions are being asked as to how despite the large number of security personnel present outside the GNC, demonstrators are still able to break through.
GNC member Alaeddin Magarief commented that whilst the demonstrators had the right to demonstrate, he objected to their method of demonstration by forcing their way into the GNC hall and disrupting its proceedings.
GNC member Sami Falah, on the other hand, confirmed that he was still within the GNC hall and that the demonstrators had not in any way caused any damage to the hall.
Moreover, he felt that the GNC was exercising double standards. He pointed out that it was these very militiamen who were present in Bani Walid and that the GNC was hailing them as the force of rule of law and legitimacy seeking out those hiding from the law in Bani Walid.
However, yesterday and today the demonstrators were being portrayed as being outside the law, Mr Falah said. All they are asking for is that the government does not appoint people who are deemed to have worked with the old regime.
The GNC will reconvene on Sunday. [/restrict]