12 December 2011

Libya: NTC Declares Benghazi Economic Capital After Demos

The National Transitional Council declared Monday that Benghazi will be Libya's economic capital, in a decision following the country's first protests against the ruling body and its chief.

"Benghazi will be the economic capital of Libya," NTC member Abdelrazzak al-Aradi told a news conference, adding ministries related to the economy would be located in the former rebel capital.

Asked by AFP if the decision was taken after protests on Monday against the NTC and its chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Aradi said: "Yes. Since the revolution the people of Benghazi feel they are marginialised and forgotten."

Hundreds of disgruntled men and women chanted slogans against NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil in Benghazi's Shajara Square on Monday, complaining of a lack of transparency and his willingness to forgive former Kadhafi fighters.

"Benghazi hosted the revolution (against Moamer Kadhafi) for several months, and was one of the factors that enabled its success," Aradi said, reading from a statement.

"So there will be no marginalisation or exclusion and the economic future that awaits this city and other cities will exceed all expectations. Benghazi will the economic capital of Libya."

The initial protests against Kadhafi erupted in Benghazi in February, triggering a nationwide revolution against his 42-year rule which ended with his killing on October 20 in hometown of Sirte.


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