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
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0916 GMT (1716 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Liverpool's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Liverpool and Ludogorets Razgrad at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on September 16, 2014.
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT