Libya troops end protest at Agoco, secure offices

Libyan security forces have put an end to a protest that closed off the headquarters of the country’s biggest oil company for two weeks, securing the offices and arresting some demonstrators overnight, officials said on Wednesday.  

Protesters had prevented employees from entering Agoco’s office since April 23, calling for more transparency over how Libya’s new rulers are spending its money and demanding more jobs for young people.     

“Forces from the high security committee arrived in the early hours. They are now in control and are checking the building,” Agoco spokesman Abdeljalil Mayuf said. “Maybe we can start work there again on Thursday.”  

Security forces said they arrived at around 3am. They took down tents the protesters had set up in front of the main gate.  

“We arrested about 30 people. Some of them were sleeping in tents, others were in nearby buildings,” Essam Al Baggal, a security force commander, said. Another security official said weapons and alcohol had been found in nearby buildings.  

Other protesters who were not present in front of the office during the night said they had still to decide what to do next, as they said an agreement was in the works.  

Meetings have been held between civil society groups and the demonstrators but these failed to end the protests.  

Agoco had threatened to cut production if no solution was found by May 3, and went on to reduce output. Oil accounts for the bulk of Libya’s economy and exports.

Libya is close to returning to pre-war production of 1.6 million bpd, and its recovery contributed to a rise in output by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in April.    

(Source: Oman Tribune)

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