Tripoli, 28 December:
The government last night launched a stinging attack on those who “disrupt the work of the government and state institutions in an irresponsible way” at a press conference in Tripoli.
In the statement, the government spokesman slammed “the shutting down of public facilities, the committing of highway robberies, breaking into buildings and taking control of them”, bemoaning the “huge losses to the state” that they incurred.
The statement comes in the wake of a number of incidents where several groups have disrupted state activity to protest their own demands. Earlier this month, predominantly Tebu demonstrators closed the Sharara oilfield near Obari for nearly two weeks over claims that they were not being given the opportunity to work on the fields.
In a speech earlier this month, Prime Minister for the interim government Ali Zeidan said that the protests had cost Libya nearly $350 million in lost revenues, and criticised the demonstrators for causing losses to the state.
Most recently, local protesters are reported to have occupied the Zueitina oil terminal on 22 December, apparently also to call for more opportunities to work there.
However, the statement given yesterday made it clear they would not tolerate long-term disruption caused by such moves, saying: “The government will not give in to any kind of blackmail… and will take all necessary measures to prevent any harm to Libya, its security and stability.”
The government said it would take “all necessary measures to protect Libya’s vital installations” saying it would not show any tolerance to those disrupting state activities.
It was also made clear in the statement that the government would seek to prosecute anyone taking part in any demonstration causing major disruption to the state.
The spokesman said: “Taking into account all constitutional and legal rights of citizens, the government will refer any violations or crimes perpetrated by these outlaws the Attorney General to start legal proceedings in the regard”.
Several detainees are currently on trial in the capital for their alleged involvement in the seizure of Tripoli international airport in June.