Skip to main content

Armed men seize Libya's Justice Ministry

By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
April 30, 2013 -- Updated 1925 GMT (0325 HKT)
Armed men in trucks with anti-aircraft guns mounted on them occupied the Libyan Justice Ministry in Tripoli.
Armed men in trucks with anti-aircraft guns mounted on them occupied the Libyan Justice Ministry in Tripoli.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The militants want senior government positions to be cleansed of Gadhafi loyalists
  • They have anti-aircraft guns mounted on their trucks, officials say
  • No violence was reported in the latest in a string of armed protests
  • The nation's Foreign Ministry remains under siege for a third straight day

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Armed men in trucks with anti-aircraft guns mounted on them occupied the Libyan Justice Ministry in Tripoli on Tuesday, forcing ministry staff to leave, Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said.

The militants consisted of 20 to 30 armed men in military fatigues, according to al-Marghani, who said he tried to talk to the men before fleeing.

This comes as the nation's Foreign Ministry remains under siege for a third straight day.

The armed protesters have said their main goal was to push the General National Congress to pass a proposed law that would ban Gadhafi-era officials from holding government posts.

Gunmen seek to oust Gadhafi loyalists
Explosion rocks French Embassy in Libya

The political isolation law proposal has been a matter of contention among lawmakers for several months because it could push current senior officials out of office for serving under the former regime.

Watchdog groups have been calling on Libyan authorities to rein in armed groups that they say continue to threaten the country's future.

"Unlawful armed groups that show up with heavy weapons and block access to government institutions, demanding grievance, crosses the line of peaceful protest; it is intimidating and threatening and there should be accountability for these actions" Hanan Salah, the Libya researcher for Human Rights Watch, told CNN on Sunday.

In recent months, Libyans have resorted to armed protests in the capital. In some cases, protesters surrounded government offices, and sessions of the country's legislature have been interrupted by armed groups that stormed its meetings.

Last month, armed protesters besieged the General National Congress for several hours in an attempt to force its members to pass the political isolation law. Gunmen later opened fire on the vehicle of the parliament speaker, who escaped unharmed.

Eighteen months after the fall of the regime, Libya remains awash in weapons and militias that the government has been struggling to control to secure the country.

READ MORE: Libya's foreign ministry cut off by men wielding anti-aircraft guns, official says

READ MORE: Why have we forgotten about Libya?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0317 GMT (1117 HKT)
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0433 GMT (1233 HKT)
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0938 GMT (1738 HKT)
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT)
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT