Libyan protesters shut down oil refinery in country’s west

TRIPOLI, Libya – A Libyan government spokesman says that protesters have shut down an oil refinery in western Libya, adding to tensions in the country after militias seized vital export terminals in the east.

The shutdown came a day after government said it may not be able to cover its expenditures because of the disruption of around 60 per cent of Libya’s oil exports, mostly from eastern areas.

Mohammed al-Hariri says Tuesday that the protesters who shut down the refinery in al-Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometres) west of Tripoli, are men who were wounded while fighting to topple ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi during the eight-month civil war that ended with his death in 2011.

He said the refinery provides Libya with 23 per cent of its fuel needs, the rest of which is imported.