Libya national assembly returns to members after protest

AFP , Tuesday 5 Mar 2013

Libyan security official says former anti-Gaddafi rebels have left national assembly after month-long occupation

Libyan Prime Minster Ali Zeidan (Photo: Reuters)

Libya's national assembly building returned to its members on Tuesday after a month-long occupation by former rebels demanding compensation for injuries in the 2011 revolution, a security official said.

The veterans of the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi  "have left the premises," said the official posted outside the building, which remained closed to the media.

The authorities have been negotiating for several days with the handicapped former rebels, among them amputees, demanding compensation and social aid, mainly lifetime pensions.

Deputy speaker Jommaa Atiga and other assembly members "took possession of the premises after an agreement was struck with the former rebels," the official news agency LANA said, without giving details.

They toured the assembly to evaluate the damage after a failed raid on Sunday to evacuate the building that security officials said left four wounded among security forces. The protesters were armed and had hurled a grenade.

Footage on the Internet after the raid showed a devastated hall, with windows smashed and chairs toppled.

In a bid to pressure the authorities, the protesters had occupied the main hall of the General National Congress, the highest authority in Libya, forcing assembly members to meet in a nearby hotel.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has said the authorities had granted all the demands of those wounded in the eight-month conflict, offering a minimum income of 3,500 Libyan pounds ($2,750) a month as well as housing and a car.

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