By Wil Crisp.
Tripoli, 19 February 2013:
Around 200 people demonstrated outside the Rixos Hotel this afternoon, Tuesday, as inside, the General National . . .[restrict]Congress debated on the political isolation bill. They said they had come to protest against government corruption.
The Isolation law is designed to prevent senior officials who served under Qaddafi from holding public office and top positions in public companies. However, even if the bill passes, it is not yet clear who exactly will be excluded. Thus many of the protesters today said they were worried the legislation would be watered down.
Womens’ rights activist Monai Al-Bateosh was one of those pushing for a strict policy when it comes to those with ties to Qaddafi.
“I’m here to demand that anyone who has been in government with Qaddafi is removed,” she said brandishing a cartoon showing a man flushing himself down a toilet, with the caption ‘Political Isolation’. She went on to call for the government and the GNC to be ‘cleansed’ along with state-owned companies, the media and the bureaucracy.
Ahmed Algwashi also wanted a harder line taken on people with links to the former regime. Speaking to the Libya Herald he said, “ It’s not right that old allies of Qaddafi and corrupt people get to line their pockets and collect big salaries, while people like me who made big sacrifices during the revolution, struggle to find work.”
As they chanted, many in the crowd held up pictures of martyred relatives or comrades. Flowers were distributed amongt the protesters and soldiers by a woman with a basket. She said she had brought them for the wounded veterans who still occupy the parliament, but she had not been allowed into the building. The veterans, who have been camped in that part of the complex for more than two weeks, are themselves demonstrating for better health care for those wounded in the revolution.
Early on in the demonstration the soldiers unchained the gates of the Rixos to allow the protesters inside the grounds, and a number of the soldiers poked flowers down their gun barrels. [/restrict]