Libyans Storm Transitional Government Headquarters

Published January 21, 2012 3:00PM (EST)

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Around 200 protesters frustrated with the pace of reforms in Libya stormed the grounds of the country's transitional government headquarters on Saturday to demand a meeting with the nation's interim leaders.

Residents in Benghazi, where the uprising against longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi broke out in February, have been protesting for nearly two weeks, demanding transparency and justice from the country's new leaders.

Some have pitched tents outside the NTC's headquarters to protest a set of election laws they say were drafted by the interim leaders without consulting the public. The NTC is expected to pass the packet of laws that will determine how elections for a transitional parliament will be held. The council only took into account public suggestions through an online survey.

The NTC's handling of the draft laws has sparked criticism that the council is not living up to its democratic ideals.

Last week, NTC official Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga was assaulted in Benghazi by protesters angry at what they said is the NTC's lack of transparency.

On Saturday, the demonstrators used hand grenades to blow off the gates surrounding the compound housing the NTC's headquarters and banged on the building's doors. They shouted through windows at NTC members who could be seen pacing inside the building.

"The election laws have not been approved by thousands of Libyans and do not honor those who died for our freedom," said Tamer al-Jahani, a lawyer taking part in the protest. "We don't want to replace one tyrant with another."

Some protesters were demanding more rights for fighters wounded during the civil war.

Protester Ahmed Boras accused the NTC of sidelining anti-Gadhafi fighters.

"It seems to us that these people are no different than Gadhafi and they only speak the language of force," he said.

By Salon Staff

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