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Mass strike paralyses Libya's Benghazi, airport closed

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Public and private sector staff including oil workers went on strike in the Libyan port city of Benghazi on Sunday, protesting against worsening security and demanding the resignation of parliament whose mandate has expired.

Traffic at Benghazi's international airport was halted by the strike. As a result, a Turkish Airlines plane was turned away, according to state media.

Oil companies, universities and schools also closed, heeding a call by political groups for a day of "civil disobedience" to demand better security, witnesses said.

Government forces have failed to improve security in the port city where car bombs and killings of police and army officers have become part of daily life.

Most foreigners left Benghazi after the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in an Islamist assault on the U.S. consulate in September 2012.

The strikers want Libya's General National Congress (GNC) assembly to resign immediately. The GNC's initial mandate expired on Feb 7 but a date as yet to be set for a new election.

Many Libyans blame infighting parliamentarians for the growing turmoil and anarchy that have persisted in Libya since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami and Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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