Dozens of Libyan soldiers have occupied the office, according to a report from Agence France-Presse. The soldiers, who are unarmed according to the report, are protesting the government in order to secure their wages. The soldiers say that they have not been paid for months. Despite the fact that the soldiers were unarmed, they forced their way into the building in Tripoli.
The Prime Minister of Libya, Ali Zeidan, was not present when the troops entered the building. The head of the country’s interim government is on a three-day state visit to Morocco, which began on Sunday. The troops say that they are waiting for an official to negotiate with them.
Libya in a state of unrest
The taking of the office of the Prime Minister is not all that unusual in the unstable North African country. In the wake of the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s central interim government is weak. Rebel groups who were involved in the revolution effectively rule much of the country and have resisted giving up the weapons they secured in the course of the war.
Earlier this year, an armed militia laid siege to the offices of the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Defense in order to force laws excluding Gaddafi-era officials from political office. It is unclear from the AFP report what particular group the soldiers occupying the Prime Minister’s office are a part of.
The occupation of the Prime Minister’s office is peaceful, albeit forceful. Libya’s patchwork militia rule has given rise to some less peaceful protest and there has been an increase in terrorist activity in the Mediterranean nation.
The U.S. government was involved in a raid on Tripoli last week in a successful bid to capture a member of Al Qaeda responsible for the bombing of an embassy in Somalia in the 1990s. Libya protested the incursion into its territory, but some reports suggested the government knew of the raid in advance.