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Libyan government resigns amid protests

Libyan government resigns amid protests

An interim government in Eastern Libya resigned on Sunday amid revolt in the streets that erupted across the country over dire living conditions.

Prime Minister Abdallah al-Thani submitted the resignation of his government to Aguila Saleh, speaker of the eastern-based House of Representatives, said the government’s spokesman, Ezzel-Deen al-Falih, reported African Stand.

Abdallah Abaihig, a spokesman for the parliament, confirmed the government’s resignation, saying lawmakers would review it in their next meeting. No date set for the session.

The parliament on Friday accused the Central Bank and government in the capital of Tripoli of “plundering” the country and neglecting the east, in apparent efforts to deflect blame for the deterioration of public services.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled long time ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

Both the parliament and al-Thani’s government, which is not internationally recognized, are allied with Khalifa Haftar, commander of the self-styled Libyan Arab Armed Forces, which controls Libya’s east and south.

Hundreds of young Libyans flooded the streets of Benghazi and other eastern cities in the past couple of days in a spontaneous outburst of anger over the area’s crippling electricity shortages.

Protesters in eastern Libya set piles of tires ablaze and blocked traffic on several major roads. On Saturday, protesters attempted to storm a security headquarters in the eastern town of Marj.

The U.N. Support Mission in Libya, or UNSMIL, said at least one civilian was reportedly killed and three others were wounded.

It called for “a thorough and immediate” investigation into “the reported excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations” and the speedy release of a number of detained protesters.

The demonstrations mirror similar recent protests over power cuts and corruption in the capital Tripoli and other western cities in recent weeks. The protests have led to a power struggle within the U.N.-supported government.

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