Angry Protesters Storm Libyan Parliament

Two members of Libya's interim parliament shot and wounded by protesters who storm the parliament building in Tripoli.

Elad Benari ,

Protest in Libya (archive)
Protest in Libya (archive)

Two members of Libya's interim parliament were shot and wounded by protesters who stormed the General National Congress (GNC) in downtown Tripoli on Sunday, officials and witnesses said, according to Al-Jazeera.

"Two (GNC) members were hit by bullets when they tried to leave the venue in their cars," Nuri Abu Sahmein, the parliament speaker, was quoted in the report as having said. He blamed "armed protesters" for the shooting.

Dozens of angry protesters entered the GNC, with some of them rampaging through the building, witnesses said.

The protesters demanded the dissolution of the GNC and railed against the overnight "kidnapping" of demonstrators from a sit-in outside the parliament building.

They later attacked and "abused" the deputies, GNC spokesman Omar Hmidan said on Al-Nabaa television, adding the officials' cars had been destroyed.

One member of the GNC told AFP that the protesters, mostly young people armed with knives and sticks, entered the premises chanting, "Resign, resign".

Meanwhile, the head of Libya's election commission and two of its members resigned on Sunday, Al-Jazeera reported, a day after it released initial results of a vote for the country's constitutional panel.

The February vote for the 60-member constitutional panel was marred by violence, with several voting stations coming under attack and security forces failing to secure others.

The GNC was established after the revolt which led to the overthrow of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Independent militias still control large part of the North African country, more than two years after Qaddafi’s downfall, and regularly fight each other as well as the country’s interim authorities. Terrorist groups have taken advantage of the situation and are training fighters on Libyan soil.

In October, Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped from the Tripoli hotel in which he resides, but was released several hours later.

In January, former rebels kidnapped five Egyptian diplomats in retaliation for Egypt’s arrest of a top Libyan militia commander. They were freed several days later.

Libya's former prosecutor general was shot dead by unknown attackers in early February, the latest in a series of assassinations that have plagued the country in recent years. Previously,  Libya's deputy minister of industry was shot dead during a visit to his hometown of Sirte.