TRIPOLI, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Protests have forced a major oil
port in eastern Libya to shut down its operations for a fourth
day, the deputy oil minister said on Wednesday.
Al-Zuweitina Oil port, 790 km east of Tripoli, receives oil
pumped from at least three oil fields in the Libyan desert and
is responsible for exporting 60 to 70 barrels of oil a day.
Omar Shakmak said protesters forced their way into the
port's management offices on Saturday and ordered the port
director to quit working and shut down operations.
"They want the government to provide them with jobs and
believe they can put pressure on the government by stalling
oil-related companies," he said.
A number of protests outside refineries and oil-related
installations have posed a significant challenge to Libya's new
government, which is dependent on oil for most of its revenue.
The administration is still struggling to impose order on a
vast and divided country awash with arms and militias after the
overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi last year.
Western Libya's main oil refinery has seen at least four
shut downs since October causing petrol shortages in the capital
Tripoli after war veterans demonstrating for more government
compensation forced the refinery to shut down operations.
(Reporting by Ali Shuaib; Writing by Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing
by Jon Hemming)