Benghazi, 1 November:
A group of local people claiming social security benefits tried to storm Tobruk oil refinery late Wednesday night and . . .[restrict]stop production. They were protesting the non-payment of benefits. They claimed they had not received any money for the past four months.
Security guards at the refinery intervened and were able to prevent them from entering the grounds after protracted negotiations.
The protestors, from a group of local “Basma” beneficiaries, stressed that they had tried to negotiate with local officials in Tobruk as well as with government officials in Tripoli, but to no avail. They claimed that that no one cared about them.
The “Basma” is an unemployment benefit for newly graduated students. Started during the Qaddafi era, students after graduating from university could sign up and be given a monthly salary, paid into their bank accounts, until they found a job.
However, funding for the scheme has been radically slashed by the central government.
Last month, the head of Benhazi local council, Juma Sahli, resigned after being threatened by local Basma benficiaries who refused to belief that the requisite funding had not been sent by the government. They accused him of stealing their payments. [/restrict]