Libyans began registering on Tuesday to vote in June elections for a national assembly, as the country prepared for its first free polls following the removal of Muammar Gaddafi. One registration centre at a Tripoli school was closed after armed former rebel fighters turned up in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns. About 1,500 registration centers have been set up across the country for the landmark polls, after which Libya will have a new constitution. People queued up outside, holding their national identity papers and centers for candidate registration also were opened.
However, in a stark reminder of the security concerns that persist in Libya six months after the conflict that toppled Gaddafi ended, the school centre in Tripoli was closed when the fighters mounted a protest. The men called for militiamen who fought Gaddafi to be represented in the new assembly and asked for the one-week deadline given to political parties to register to be extended, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. Nouri Al-Abbar, head of Libya’s election commission, said the first day of registration showed Libya had begun to move towards a democratic path.