Around 300 Islamists took
to the streets of the Libyan port of Benghazi on Friday
demanding the fall of the government and an end to strikes and
sit-ins stopping crude exports - the first sign of public
opposition to the blockades in the oil-rich east.
A regional autonomy movement has seized the country's two
biggest ports in Es-Sider and Ras Lanuf, both of them in eastern
Libya, the source of 60 percent of the OPEC producer's oil
Other groups demanding a greater share of oil wealth and
other rights have halted exports at Hariga port in Tobruk in the
The actions have devastated Libya's oil trade, the main
source of revenue and hard currency in a country still
struggling with turmoil two years after the overthrow of Muammar
"We demand the liberation of oil exports," read a banner
held up by Islamists gathered in Libya's second-largest city
where gunshots and car bombs occur almost daily.
Ismail Salabi, a prominent Islamist militia leader, accused
the strikers of devastating the economy. "We have many demands
but the most important is to lift the port seizures," he said.