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Libya ratifies law to govern demonstrations

By AFP - Nov 13,2012 - Last updated at Nov 13,2012

TRIPOLI — Libya’s national assembly announced Tuesday the ratification of a law governing the organisation of protests that could lead to jail sentences, following a series of security breaches at its premises.

The new law comes at a time when the country’s new leaders are struggling to impose order and rein in armed militias which took part in the 2011 conflict that toppled and killed veteran dictator Muammar Qadhafi.

The spokesman of the General National Congress, Omar Hmeidan, said the law was passed due to the “exceptional circumstances” of the country, which held its first democratic elections in July after a 42-year dictatorship.

He added that the law does not aim to restrict the right to demonstrate, calling it a measure to combat chaos and “organise demonstrations just like in other countries of the world”.

The law, according to a copy obtained by AFP, stipulates that organisers must give the authorities 48-hour notice on the place and time of the event.

Offenders are liable to a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to 5,000 Libyan dinars (about $4,000). The sentence could be higher if the demonstrator is armed.

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