Libya protest
This picture taken early on July 2, 2022 shows a view of the building used by Libya's Tobruk-based parliament building in the country's east, lit up by protesters who broke inside while demonstrating against deteriorating living conditions and political deadlock. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: The UN has said that “riots and vandalism” in Libya is “unacceptable” after angry protesters attacked the parliament building amid a deepening political impasse in the North African country.

The demonstrators Friday night stormed the House of Representatives in Libya’s eastern city of Tobruk and set on fire, demanding long-postponed elections be held and denouncing poor living conditions, witnesses said. Similar protests were also reported in other Libyan cities including the capital Tripoli, according to Libyan media.

“The people’s right to peacefully protest should be respected and protected but riots and acts of vandalism such as the storming of the House of Representatives headquarters late yesterday in Tobruk are totally unacceptable,” tweeted UN Special Advisor Stephanie Williams on Saturday.

“It is absolutely vital that calm is maintained, responsible Libyan leadership demonstrated, and restraint exercised by all,” she added.

The unrest came a day after UN-sponsored talks between rival Libyan leaders in Geneva failed to produce an agreement on eligibility requirements for the candidates in the presidential elections that were due last December.

Libya has currently two rival governments.

The oil-rich country descended into chaos after a 2011 NATO-supported armed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled the country for 42 years.