Former Libyan rebel fighters calling for more recognition from the North African country’s new rulers briefly exchanged fire outside the national congress in Tripoli on Tuesday, members of the national assembly said.
The incident comes two days after Libya’s head of congress vowed to dissolve rogues militias who have refused to lay down their arms since the war that ousted Muammar Qaddafi last year.
Underlining Libya’s precarious security, an argument during the demonstration escalated into an exchange of gunfire.
“They started fighting among each other, first just hitting each other and then exchanging fire,” congress member Nizar Kawan said, adding that some protesters were carrying banners saying “do not sideline the revolutionaries”.
“Some of them were saying they should end the protest, others did want to and it escalated.”
A second congress member, who declined to be named, said that politicians were evacuated to a nearby hotel.
“Security forces asked congress members to leave the building,” he said. “Security forces closed off the area and started shooting in the air to stop the protesters.”
Libya’s army on Sunday ordered rogue armed groups in and around Tripoli to leave state and military premises or be ejected by force, apparently seeking to capitalize on the withdrawal of militias from Benghazi and Derna.