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Posted at 2:45 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Local Libyans look to remove "Gaddafi flag"

By Tara Bahrampour

Washington-based Libyans seeking to replace their embassy's flag today failed to gain access to the building, but were placated when members of Congress entered to find a pro-opposition ambassador still apparently at his job.

Brandishing green, black and red flags of the former monarchy, two dozen protesters railed against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and against the State Department, which they believed had recognized a Gaddafi loyalist appointed to replace Ali Aujali, the ambassador who last week called on Gaddafi to resign.

However, a a senior State Department official said today that "Ambassador Aujali continues as Head of Mission at this time." The official added that the department had received "a fax from the Libyan government regarding its representation in Washington and we are still reviewing its authenticity." During the protest, six U.S. Congress members - Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Donald Payne (D-New Jersey), John Conyers (D-Michigan), Barbara Lee (D-California), Lynn Woolsey (D-California) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), met with Aulaji inside the embassy.

Jackson Lee said afterward that Aujali still appeared to be performing his duties as ambassador. She said she did not recall seeing a flag in the embassy.

Watch a scene from outside the Libyan embassy as protestors engage with security forces and voice their ideas about Libya's future:

By Tara Bahrampour  | March 1, 2011; 2:45 PM ET
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