Gunmen among crowd of protesters shoot at Libya congress leader's car

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 06, 2013 9:18 AM
Gunmen among crowd of protesters shoot at Libya congress leader's car

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Gunmen in a crowd of Libyans demanding that lawmakers pass a bill barring former associates of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power shot at the car of the General National Congress (GNC) speaker, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Mohammed Magarief, a former ambassador to India who had survived a gun attack at his home in January, was unharmed and no one else was hurt in the shooting late on Tuesday, he said.

Insecurity persists in Libya after a popular uprising in 2011, and politicians, state buildings and oil installations have become a focal point of protests as the government struggles to impose order on a vast and divided country awash with weapons.

Magarief was driving away from a building on the outskirts of the capital Tripoli where lawmakers had gathered to vote on the bill when the unknown assailants shot at his car.

Protesters had stopped him and about 100 congress members from leaving for several hours.

"They then escaped. There were no injuries, only the tires were damaged," Rajmi Berruien, a spokesman for Magarief, said.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said about 300 protesters had gathered "to put pressure on members to vote on this bill".

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Wounded former rebel fighters demanding compensation for injuries sustained in the 2011 revolt have occupied parliament for a month and congress members have been meeting elsewhere.

After a failed attempt to evict them on Sunday, the group of about 30 former fighters left the parliament building on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Ali Shuaib; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Louise Ireland)