TRIPOLI - Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan threatened to impose order by force on Wednesday in response to unrest that has caused astronomical losses in the oil sector and deadly violence in the capital.
"We will be compelled to use force to protect the state," Zeidan warned on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting which he interrupted to speak to the press.
"Oil is our only source of revenue," he said, lamenting the loss of 1.3 million Libyan dinars ($1 million) per day because of inaccessible oil installations blocked off by protesters.
Oil installations have become a focal point of protests in the wake of July polls that ushered in the country's first elected authorities. In December, the strategic Zueitina oil terminal was shut down by demonstrators.
Zeidan also urged citizens to support the nascent army and police.
"We will not allow any (armed) force to confront the people and threaten national security. I warn families, tribes and regions that we will take decisive measures," the premier said.
"We cannot be patient when violence results in the disruption of oil supplies and the loss of life."
The statement comes in the wake of disparate acts of violence in the capital, including the killing of a drug dealer in the neighbourhood of Fashlum which sparked anti-police violence and demonstrations that blocked off roads.