Peace and Justice Update - May 3, 2013 - Volume 33, Number VI
Middle East and North Africa
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Armed Men Lay Siege to Tripoli Ministries
An estimated 200 armed men and 20 pickup trucks loaded with anti-aircraft guns surrounded the Libyan Foreign and Justice Ministries in Tripoli April 26, according to Libyan officials. The men threatened a “second revolution” if the “Political Isolation Law,” banning former Qaddafi officials from occupying positions in the Libyan government is not passed
The Foreign Ministry was first surrounded on the 26th; two days later, a barricade by armed men enclosed the Justice Ministry. There were attempts to storm the Interior Ministry and a state news agency, but both failed. The General National Congress (GNC) remains deadlocked over the “Political Isolation Law.” Passage of the law could force out several high-ranking officials who are currently in the government.
One political analyst, Ibrahim Alkarraz, sees the law as “crucial to prevent anyone from sabotaging the revolution.” He describes the armed groups not as “assailants” but rather “stimulants” knocking on government doors asking for change.
Another political activist, Guima Gmati, decried the armed groups’ actions, saying "The differences in political visions should be resolved through dialogue and the power of logic - not the logic of force and the threat of weapons."
A network of militia groups with radical agendas gained access to weapons left unprotected after Qaddafi’s fall in 2011. According to the BBC, the groups are comprised of former rebels, unemployed vigilantes, ex-convicts, and members of the Supreme Security Committee (SSC) which was a temporary force created by the Interior Ministry in October 2011, just after the revolution. Tensions have risen as the government launched a campaign to dislodge armed groups from their strongholds in Tripoli.
By Meliza Trimidal. Please send comments to email@example.com.