Libya's Benghazi hit by strike over security problems

AFP , Sunday 6 Apr 2014

Libya's restive eastern city of Benghazi was hit by a day of "civil disobedience" on Sunday that saw some public buildings close and included disruption to air traffic.

Civic groups late on Saturday urged the action to denounce security problems in the nation's second city more than three years after the onset of the revolution that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

They also demanded the suspension of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC), the country's highest political authority, and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections.

However, an AFP reporter said Sunday's day of action was only partly observed, with some public institutions, schools and universities closed, while others and many businesses stayed open.

The education ministry said all classes were being held as normal.

Air traffic was hardest hit, with the international airport closed and all flights suspended "until further notice", an airport source said.

The GNC was elected in July 2012 to an 18-month mandate but stirred popular anger by extending its term from early February until the end of December this year.

Under pressure from demonstrators, it later announced early elections but gave no date for the vote.

Benghazi residents have staged repeated protests against the security problems plaguing their city, the cradle of the uprising that toppled Gaddafi.

Attacks in the city have claimed the lives of dozens of members of the security forces, judges and foreigners since rebels killed Gaddafi in October 2011.

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