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Libyan Border Guards Occupy PM’s Office Demanding Pay

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan border guards demanding back pay for the past year occupied the Tripoli office of Prime Minister Ali Zaidan, a spokesman for his office said.

“There are about 20 of them, they are unarmed,” Essam Zubar said in a telephone interview. “They did not find the prime minister there, he is in Geneva.”

The protesters were allowed into the building by security staff at the heavily-guarded office early today, Zubar said. Occupation by protestors of official buildings has been a frequent occurrence in Libya since the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster and death of Muammar Qaddafi.

Gunmen broke into the prime ministers office, then occupied by former premier Abdurahim El-Keib, on May 8 opening fire on security forces before later agreeing to leave. The chamber of the general national congress was taken over by wounded fighters on Feb. 3, who claimed their war pensions were unpaid. They finally agreed to leave peacefully this weekend.

Both the prime minister’s office and Congress are guarded by armed militia and police units, backed by pick-up trucks mounting anti-aircraft guns, though they have been reluctant to block protestors attempting to gain access.

To contact the reporters on this story: Saleh Sarrar in Dubai at ssarar@bloomberg.net; Christopher Stephen in Tripoli at cstephen9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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