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Outages in Tripoli as minorities block power output -government

Source: Reuters - Mon, 2 Dec 2013 10:26 PM
Author: Reuters
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TRIPOLI, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Libya's government blamed protests by two minority groups demanding more political rights for outages in the capital, Tripoli, and other parts of the North African country, state media said on Monday.

Power went off for hours during the day in central Tripoli as household demand for heat surged as temperatures dropped sharply.

A group of Amazigh, or Berbers, has stopped gas supplies from the southwestern Wafa field to demand language rights. Members of the Tibu, another minority, have been blocking a road to prevent petrol supplies from reaching a power plant in Sarir, also located in southwest Libya.

The electricity ministry called the protests "irresponsible." There were outages in western Libya, Tripoli and other parts of the country, state news agency Lana said.

Both groups are demanding that their languages and cultural identities be guaranteed in a new constitution two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. They are also demanding a greater say in a special body drafting the constitution.

The strikes come on top of widespread protests at oilfields and ports over higher pay and political rights that halted most exports and dried up state revenues.

Last week, the government said power production had fallen to 4,600 megawatts, less than the almost 6,000 megawatts in the summer, when output comes under pressure because of rising demand from air conditioning. (Reporting by Ulf Laessin. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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