Tripoli, 9 . . .[restrict]March 2013:
The General National Congress is to temporarily suspend its official meetings. The decision follows Tuesday’s assault when hundreds of armed gunmen threatened members and held them hostage for several hours in an attempt to force them to immediately pass the controversial Political Isolation Law banning Qaddafi era officials from office for 10 years.
It was the latest in number of attacks, but the most violent and most serious assault on Libya’s newfound democracy. Some members were assaulted in the attack.
At a press conference this evening, Saturday, Congress President Mohamed Magarief said that members would not meet under pressure or while threatened with weapons by people trying to terrorise them into action.
The decision had also been taken, he said, because of the lack of adequate secure premises following the earlier trashing of the Congress chamber by injured revolutionaries. The latter had taken it over on 3 February and remained in occupation for a month. They finally quit just a couple of hours before the assault on Congress members who had moved to temporary accommodation at the Meteorological Institute in south Tripoli’s Crimea district.
The move had earlier been canvassed by prominent Congressman Salah Jouda.
Magarief this evening stressed that the Congress was nonetheless determined to continue carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to it in the elections last July. Work would be undertaken to restore and secure the chamber. Meanwhile Congress committees would continue to meet to prepare draft laws, in particularly the budget. [/restrict]