Last updated: 19 January, 2012

Deputy head of Libya’s NTC flees protest in Benghazi

The deputy head of Libya’s National Transitional Council was manhandled by protesters on Thursday in Benghazi, the cradle of the uprising that ousted Moamer Kadhafi last year, witnesses said.

The NTC denounced the incident, saying it was an attack on the Libyan people and the revolution.

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, who also serves as official spokesman for the interim government, had to be escorted away after being mobbed by angry students at the the University of Ghar Yunis in Libya’s second-largest city, the NTC’s wartime base.

He escaped unharmed but had to endure a tirade of abuse from the crowd, who accused him of opportunism because of his belated defection from Kadhafi regime, the witnesses said.

Students have been demonstrating on the Ghar Yunis campus for weeks to protest a perceived lack of transparency of the administration that took over after Kadhafi’s ouster and the prominent position in it of a number of his longtime lieutenants.

The NTC reacted by saying “every attack or aggression against the National Transitional Council represents an attack on the sovereignty of the Libyan people and its glorious revolution.”

A statement said Ghoga represents the “highest legitimate authority” until the election of a constitutional assembly in June.