Protesters torched the seat of government in the Libyan city of Benghazi, as rare protests against living conditions and corruption continued in the east of the country for a third day.
Protests also erupted on Saturday in Al-Bayda, where the government was previously based, in Sabha in the south and for the first time in Al-Marj, a stronghold of Commander Khalifa Haftar, based in the east, witnesses said. .
Libya has been divided into rival camps with parallel institutions to the east and west since 2014. Eastern Libya and much of the south are controlled by Haftar’s aligned Libyan National Army (LNA). on a rump government and parliament based in the east.
A 14-month LNA offensive to take control of Tripoli from the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) collapsed in June, weakening Haftar.
Several hundred demonstrators gathered in eastern cities to demonstrate against the political elite and against deteriorating living conditions, including long power cuts and a banking crisis.
Similar protests erupted in late August in western Libya, where another protest was scheduled for Sunday. Several dozen demonstrators gathered in front of the GNA building at noon.
In Benghazi, demonstrators, some armed, set fire to the government building, leaving its facade charred, according to witnesses and photos posted on social networks.
The building was constructed after the LNA took control of Benghazi in 2017 following a campaign that left parts of the port city in ruins. The fire was then brought under control.
The economic crisis in Libya and power cuts in the east are compounded by the blockade of most of the country’s oil facilities imposed by the ANL and its supporters since January.
The United States said Haftar had agreed to end the blockade, but sources in eastern Libya said negotiations were underway.