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Libya: gunmen block access to foreign ministry

The armed men are demanding that Gaddafi loyalists be ejected from the government.

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The new Libyan flag flutters near the bronze falcon that once decorated the Bab al-Aziziya compound of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 20 vehicles carrying armed men have blocked roads leading to Libya’s foreign ministry building in Tripoli, BBC News reported.

Trucks with anti-aircraft guns mounted on them have also surrounded the building, and militiamen are barring ministry staff from going into the building, a ministry official told CNN.

The commander for the armed group told Reuters that they would keep the ministry closed until the government passes a law that prevents loyalists to overthrown Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi from serving in the government. 

If adopted - and depending on the language of the draft - the law could evict several ministers and the country's leader of the General National Congress, Deutsche Welle reports 

"These attacks will never get us down and we will not surrender," Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zaidan said during a news conference. "Those who think the government is frustrated are wrong. We are very strong and determined."

There is widespread frustration in Libya that lawmakers have not yet banned members of Gaddafi’s government from participating in politics. 

According to BBC News:

In March, protesters barricaded members of the General National Congress inside the building for hours, insisting they adopt the law.

After the barricade was lifted, gunmen attacked Congress chief Mohammed Megaryef’s motorcade, though no one was killed

Last week, a car bomb exploded near the French embassy in the capital city, killing two French guards and wounding others. 

More from GlobalPost: Libya: Car bomb hits French embassy in Tripoli

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130428/libya-gunmen-block-access-foreign-ministry