Outrage toward authorities in the Libyan government prompted hundreds of people to protest Monday in the disaster-stricken city of Derna in eastern Libya.
The protests come in the aftermath of a devastating flood that took thousands of lives and destroyed Libyan neighborhoods in the coastal Mediterranean community.
Protesters demanded government officials to take accountability for the destruction caused by the flood.
"A speedy investigation and legal action against those responsible for the disaster," was part of a statement read on behalf of the protesters.
Demonstrators are demanding that a United Nations office be placed in Derna, as well as a full investigation into the city’s previous budgets, and "the city's reconstruction, plus compensation for affected residents," the statement said.
Monday evening, Hichem Abu Chkiouat, a minister in the eastern Libyan government, said Abdel-Moneim al-Gaithi, the Derna mayor at the time of the flooding, had been suspended from his post and was facing an investigation. Reuters could not immediately reach Ghaithi for comment.
Also, the parallel government in eastern Libya said Prime Minister Usama Hamad had dismissed all the members of Derna's municipal council and referred them to investigation.
Some protesters gathered outside the Sahaba Mosque, while others sat on the roof of the Derna landmark. Chants were directed at Aguila Saleh, head of the Libyan Parliament, as protesters were heard yelling, "Aguila, we don't want you! All Libyans are brothers!"
This is the first protest since last week’s massive flood, triggered by heavy rainfalls that burst two dams, leveled buildings and washed thousands of the city’s 100,000 residents into the sea. The catastrophe has left some 3,300 people dead and thousands more missing. The collapsed dams had reports of cracks in them for nearly 25 years.
On Saturday, Libya’s general prosecutor, al-Sediq al-Sour, opened an investigation into the collapse of the two dams, built in the 1970s.
Political unrest in Libya has caused the maintenance of vital infrastructure to be neglected, according to politicians and analysts.
The flood has led to further crisis in the eastern Libyan city, as tens of thousands of residents are now without homes or access to food and clean water. And there is growing concern from the United Nations about a disease outbreak.
Several countries have sent aid and set up field hospitals and rescue teams in Libya. The U.N. launched an emergency appeal for $71.4 million, while the European Union has so far sent around $6 million.
Some information in this report is from Reuters and Agence-France Presse.