Libyan protesters demonstrate against the extended mandate of the General National Congress, the country's highest political authority, in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, on February 14, 2014
Libyan protesters demonstrate against the extended mandate of the General National Congress, the country's highest political authority, in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, on February 14, 2014 © Abdullah Doma - AFP
Libyan protesters demonstrate against the extended mandate of the General National Congress, the country's highest political authority, in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, on February 14, 2014
AFP
Last updated: February 15, 2014

Libyans demonstrate against parliament extension

Thousands of Libyans took to the streets for the second consecutive Friday to protest against a decision by the interim parliament to extend its mandate.

The General National Congress (GNC), Libya's top political authority, was elected in July 2012 for a term of 18 months and tasked with leading the country's transition after the 2011 uprising.

Earlier this month it decided to extend its mandate until December despite opposition by Libyans critical of its inability to halt the country's slide into chaos.

That decision has divided Libyans, stoking tensions and fears of a political vacuum in a country plagued by growing lawlessness since the ouster of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi three years ago.

Friday's protesters waved Libyan flags and carried red cards against the GNC's extension as well as signs calling on it to step down, and accusing it of being a sponsor of "corruption and terrorism."

"No to an extension, yes to early elections," read one sign.

The protests took place in several squares of the capital, but also in second city Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 uprising, and in other towns across the North African country.

The demonstrations came as the government and armed forces on Friday moved to quash rumours of an impending coup after a retired general called for parliament and the government to be suspended.

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