Islamists demand fall of Libyan govt, end to oil blockades

Around 300 Islamists tookto the streets of the Libyan port of Benghazi on Fridaydemanding the fall of the government and an end to strikes andsit-ins stopping crude exports - the first sign of publicopposition to the blockades in the oil-rich east.

A regional autonomy movement has seized the country's twobiggest ports in Es-Sider and Ras Lanuf, both of them in easternLibya, the source of 60 percent of the OPEC producer's oilwealth.

Other groups demanding a greater share of oil wealth andother rights have halted exports at Hariga port in Tobruk in thefar east.

The actions have devastated Libya's oil trade, the mainsource of revenue and hard currency in a country stillstruggling with turmoil two years after the overthrow of MuammarGaddafi.

"We demand the liberation of oil exports," read a bannerheld up by Islamists gathered in Libya's second-largest citywhere gunshots and car bombs occur almost daily.

Ismail Salabi, a prominent Islamist militia leader, accusedthe strikers of devastating the economy. "We have many demandsbut the most important is to lift the port seizures," he said.

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