By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 1 May 2013:
Militiamen who are besieging the Ministry of Justice demanding that the Political Isolation Law be passed say that they will not fire the guns they used to shut the ministry.
“We are not going to use these weapons,” one protestor told the Libya Herald today. Gesturing towards seven ‘technicals’ (vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft guns) and one vehicle armed with a multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) parked opposite the Ministry, he said: “This is the only way we could close the ministries. This is the only way we could make people listen to us.”
He said that supporters of the proposed Political Isolation Law, which would prevent Qaddafi-era officials from holding high-level posts, had previously been protesting peacefully for eight months in a tent in Martyrs’ Square. Despite some 90 people joining the protest every night, he said, it had had no impact on the GNC.
“We stood without guns for eight months but nothing changed and no-one listened to us,” he said.“So we came here.”
Two more technicals were parked outside the entrance to the ministry and several of the militia carried guns.
Some protestors were anxious for guns and armed vehicles not to be included in photographs. “This is not what it’s about,” one said, “it is just about the law. Everybody from the old system must go.” He added that many people, not just freedom fighters, wanted the Political Isolation Law to be passed.
“You can see that we are not using guns here,” another said. “Everyone can drive and walk past. We just want the new law.” He added that Tripoli was safe.
“These are freedom fighters, these are good people,” he said. “If the law is passed on Sunday, we will just go home.” [/restrict]