(Adds airport road blocked)
By Julia Payne and Ulf Laessing
TRIPOLI, April 7 German airline Lufthansa
and its subsidiary Austrian Airlines have halted
flights to Libya indefinitely due to security concerns after a
bomb at Tripoli airport two weeks ago, a Lufthansa spokesman
said on Monday.
In March, a bomb exploded on the main runway at Tripoli,
highlighting the deteriorating security situation in the North
Lufthansa, Austrian, Italy's Alitalia and British Airways
suspended flights immediately and had left open whether or when
operations would resume.
Alitalia said it would continue to suspend
flights until April 15, after which the situation would be
A Lufthansa spokesman said: "We've decided to suspend
flights to Tripoli indefinitely due to security and operational
Libyan carriers are banned from flying to the European Union
for security reasons. They have to rent a plane and crew from an
airline allowed to fly into the region, so the resumption of
regular European flights is of vital economic importance.
Libya's government seems unable to control militias who
helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and have recently
seized government facilities to make financial and political
In another sign of insecurity, young men blocked the airport
road from central Tripoli for hours. Long queues of cars formed
until the late evening, witnesses said.
A Reuters reporter saw men burning tyres and holding up
banners denouncing the General National Congress (GNC), the
parliament which many Libyans blame for their country's bumpy
transition since its 2011 uprising.
"We blocked the road because we want security. We are
against assassinations in Benghazi," said protester Fawzi
Masbah. The eastern city of Benghazi has been hit by almost
daily assassinations of army and police officers.
Protesters demanded that GNC head Nouri Abu Sahmain resign.
He is already under pressure from a group of lawmakers who have
accused him of lying about a late-night visit by two women to
his house in January.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing, Julia Payne and Agnieszka Flak;
Editing by Robin Pomeroy)