Libya Defense Minister Resigns Over Siege Of Ministries

Libya’s Defense Minister Mohammed al-Bargathi has resigned in protest against a siege by armed men on government ministries, denouncing the siege as ‘an assault on democracy’ in the North African country.

On Tuesday, al-Bargathi issued a statement saying, “This is an assault against the democracy I have sworn to protect.”

Since April 30, a number of armed men in vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft guns have surrounded the Justice Ministry building.

The Foreign Ministry has also been surrounded by some 200 armed men since April 28.

The armed men demand that the ministries ban the remnants of the former regime of Muammar Gaddafi from holding key posts and hire those who had helped topple the long-time dictator.

Meanwhile, under pressure from the gunmen, Libya’s General National Congress passed a law on Sunday, excluding officials from the era of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, including current Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who served as a diplomat under the former regime, from holding key posts.

However, armed men continued the siege of ministries, saying “The adoption of the law on political exclusion is a major step in the right direction. But we will take our time to examine certain aspects of the law.”

Libyans rose up against Gaddafi’s four-decade-long rule in February 2011 and deposed him in August 2011. The dictator was killed on October 20 of the same year.

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