Over the past two weeks, growing numbers of armed fighters have surrounded the Libyan Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry, initially demanding that the parliament give in and pass a law banning Gadhafi-era officials from holding office.
Yesterday, parliament finally did, passing a law that is expected to force a large portion of the Foreign Ministry staff, which is unchanged from pre-revolution days, to resign. Some went home, claiming victory.
Yet today, much of the militias remain in place, and say they’re not going anywhere. They have expanded their demands, insisting that Prime Minister Zidan needs to resign as well.
The militias got their start in the revolution, and never really disbanded after. Faced with a new government including a lot of familiar faces, nominally last minute “defectors” from the Gadhafi regime, and promises of reform that never materialized. With the nascent Libyan military itself made up in large measure of militiamen, they maintain enormous sway nationwide, and can’t simply be forced to capitulate.
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