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Protest causes petrol shortage in Tripoli

05 November 2012, 14:03

Tripoli - Protests outside western Libya's main oil refinery shut down operations for a second day on Monday, causing long queues at petrol stations in the capital Tripoli, a refinery spokesperson said.

Essam al-Muntasir of the Zawiya Oil Refining Company said many wounded veterans of the war which ousted Muammar Gaddafi last year were demonstrating in front of the refinery.

"They are not allowing the employees to enter the company and not allowing our tankers to leave," he said.

"They say they haven't received adequate compensation and feel the government hasn't given them their full rights."

Volatile situation

He would not say if the protesters were armed.

A day after a gun battle that wounded five people in central Tripoli, the refinery protest is another reminder of volatile security conditions in Libya, where a weak central government has yet to control militias or meet its people's needs.

In Tripoli, dozens of cars lined up outside petrol stations patiently waiting to fill their tanks.

The Zawiya refinery, about 50km west of Tripoli, has a capacity of 120 000 barrels per day and provides 40% of western Libya's oil needs, Muntasir said.

He said refinery officials and elders from Zawiya were trying to resolve the dispute without resorting to police.

- Reuters

Tags libya

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