Last updated: 3 March, 2013

Police hurt by protesters occupying Libya assembly

Four members of the security forces were hurt on Sunday during a failed bid to evacuate ex-rebels occupying Libya’s national assembly demanding aid for injuries sustained during the revolution, the government said.

The authorities have been negotiating for several days with the handicapped former rebels, among them amputees, who took part in the conflict that overthrew Moamer Kadhafi’s dictatorship in 2011, and who are demanding compensation.

In a bid to pressure the authorities, the protesters have occupied the main hall of the General National Congress, the highest authority in the country, forcing the assembly members to meet in a nearby hotel.

Tripoli security chief Mahmud Sherif said four members of the security forces were hurt in scuffles, adding that the protesters were armed and had thrown a grenade at them before being joined by another group of ex-rebels.

The security forces refrained from using arms in response, Sherif added.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said the authorities had granted all the demands of those wounded in the eight-month conflict, offering a minimum income of 3,500 Libyan pounds ($2,750) a month as well as housing and a car.

Cherif said that several attempts to mediate with the protesters have failed, as they come up with unrealistic new demands each time.

Fighters in the “revolutionary brigades” that overthrew the late Libyan dictator continue to pose a serious threat to stability in Libya, with a top UN envoy estimating in January that there were still around 200,000 of them bearing arms.