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Libyan activists storm Manila embassy

world Updated: Sep 08, 2011 18:54 IST

AP
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Two enraged young Libyans barged into their embassy in the Philippine capital on Thursday to try to evict diplomats they suspect remain loyal to ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Associated Press journalists saw the men scale the embassy's steel gate and scuffle with guards. They broke open a wooden door and while yelling at the top of their voice, tried to look for two of four Libyan diplomats inside they accused of remaining loyal to Gaddafi.

"We are Libyans, this is our embassy," Elyosa Fathi Elgardag, a former student in the Philippines, said before storming the compound in front of several Filipino guards.

Several of his Libyan companions were barred from entering the upscale village, Elgardag said. A crowd-control team stood by in case Libyan protesters manage to get near the embassy.

Last month, Libyan diplomats in Manila raised the flag of the interim rebel government, the National Transitional Council, as Tripoli's diplomatic missions across the world defected from Gaddafi, underscoring his rapid fall after nearly 42 years in power.

The ecstatic, young Libyans rampaged through the embassy compound in August, smashing Gadhafi's glass-covered portraits, shouting "Die Gaddafi, die!" and ripping his "Green Book," which contains his ruling philosophy.

But Elgardag said the Libyan diplomats in Manila were under pressure to switch sides after he and other Libyans based in the Philippines forced them to defect.

Elgardag's companion, a student who did not give his name, said the embassy failed to arrange for the continuation of financial aid to Libyan students abroad, making their lives miserable. He said they were barred from entering the embassy and were left with no choice but to storm it.

The diplomats inside the building did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment and the two intruders were still inside today afternoon.