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Hundreds of Libyans Storm NTC Headquarters

Hundreds of angry Libyans violently stormed the transitional government’s headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday, looting office supplies as the country’s interim leader was trapped in the building.

Protesters broke through the gates at the National Transitional Council’s headquarters by throwing hand grenades and storming the grounds of the building, banging on doors and demanding to speak to government officials.

The NTC chief Mustafa Abdul-Jalil tried to calm the mob by addressing the crowd from a second-floor window, but protesters threw botttles at him and then torched his armored Land Cruiser and broke into the headquarters, smashing windows and carting off furniture and electronics.

Protests in Benghazi have been on the rise in recent weeks as people have expressed disdain for a new set of laws drafted without consulting the public. “The election laws have not been approved by thousands of Libyans and do not honor those who died for our freedom,” said Tamer al-Jahani, a lawyer taking part in the protest. “We don’t want to replace one tyrant with another.”

The protests are another example of the failure of the interim government to get control over the country. Disparate groups of militias that remain organized in independent and defiant brigades throughout the country have been attacking each other and demanding top roles in government.

One protester on Saturday told the Associated Press that the NTC has ignored the fighters who helped ousted Gadhafi and added “It seems to us that these people are no different than Gadhafi and they only speak the language of force.”

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