Anti-government protestors close Libyan oil terminal
Many Libyans want a larger share of oil profits. (AFP/File)
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A large number of angry protesters showing their discontent with the interim government policies have closed Libya’s western Zawiya oil terminal.
Local citizens demonstrating against the country's parliament forced the 120,000-barrel-per-day refinery to shut down on Friday.
A government statement said that the demonstrators also blocked the entrance to the port preventing oil workers from entering.
The protesters prevented some oil product tankers from discharging several oil product deliveries, it added.
Analysts say the port closure will compound Libya's troubles in resolving protests that have choked oil exports.
The latest developments come just days after Libya handed over control of two eastern oil ports to the army under a deal to end a multi-month crisis in the country’s troubled east. Authorities have confirmed that Libyan soldiers had taken control of the ports of Zueitina and Marsa al-Hariga.
The rebels reached the deal with the government on Sunday, paving the way for handing over the two terminals this week and cede the other two ports – Ra’s Lanuf and Sidra -- within two to four weeks.
The rebels seized the four oil terminals last July to pursuit their campaign for autonomy in the eastern Cyrenaica region. The move cut oil exports by 1.25 million barrels per day, costing the country more than $14 billion in lost revenues.
Militant tribes in both eastern and western oil-producing regions are demanding a bigger share of the country's oil wealth.
Libya has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups, who played a key role in the 2011 popular uprising that toppled former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
On March 12, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution, authorizing sanctions against illegal crude exports from Libya’s militant-held oil facilities.