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Libya's eastern government resigns amid protests

September 14, 2020

An interim government in eastern Libya has resigned hours after protesters set fire to its headquarters in Benghazi. Protests also erupted in the cities of Al-Marj, Sabha and Al-Bayda.

Protests erupt in Benghazi
Image: picture-alliance/AP/H. El-Yamany

After days of protests against corruption and poor living conditions, the government in eastern Libya announced its resignation on Sunday. 

Prime Minister Abdallah al-Thani submitted the resignation to the speaker of the eastern-based House of Representatives, in a country that has seen rival governments in the east and west since long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011.

Read more: Is Libya a failed state?

Protesters set fire to the government's headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi, as well as Al-Marj, which is a stronghold of Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).

Protests also broke out in the southern city of Sabha and Al-Bayda, which is the former seat of government.

Extreme turmoil

Libya has seen extreme political, economic and humanitarian turmoil in the years since Gadhafi's ouster. The latest string of demonstrations, which began on Thursday, has been fueled by regular power cuts, cash shortages and high fuel prices.

The eastern government has been weakened considerably following a 14-month offensive by the LNA, during which it attempted to take control of the capital, Tripoli. The internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) currently holds the city.

Since January, the country's economic crisis has worsened after Haftar's LNA imposed a blockade on Libya's oil facilities. Negotiations are on to end the blockade.

see/sri (AP, Reuters, dpa, AFP)