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Middle East Today: Libya --- Tensions Continue Over Post-Qaddafi Laws

Troops Protecting Government Building in Tripoli

Libya: Clashes Over "Exclusion" Legislation

Hundreds of demonstrators have protested against armed groups demanding the exclusion of officials from the regime of Muammar Qaddafi, who was overthrown in October 2011.

Several hundred people gathered in Tripoli's Algeria Square on Friday to protest against the gunmen, who have surrounded the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs. They waved placards such as "The era of the militias is over", "Attacks on the ministries are attacks on the Libyan people", and "No to weapons, yes to dialogue."

When the crowd marched to Martyrs' Square, they were challenged by supporters of the law to exclude the Qaddafi-era officials from top government posts.

The crowd then left the square for the prime minister's office to "express Tripolitans' solidarity with the Government and the legitimate authorities in the country," an organiser said.

Under increasing pressure over the measure, the General National Council said on Monday that it was suspending plenary sessions until Sunday.

It said the delay was needed to give political blocs in the GNC time to examine the bill to reach a compromise on the law.

GNC Vice President Salah al-Makhzoum said a compromise had been reached among the political blocs by adding "exceptions" in the bill in order to retain key individuals in the administration.

He said the bill is expected to be voted on next week.

Libya's army had taken up positions earlier on Friday at strategic sites around the capital, and soldiers in pickup trucks mounted with machine guns were also deployed on Martyrs' Square ahead of the protests.

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