Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Sunday he would remove them but he did not say whether force would be used, reportedly telling Libya’s al-Ahrar news channel that he did not want the country to plunge into civil war.
A group of heavily-armed demonstrators has occupied three eastern oil ports which account for 600,000 barrels per day of exports.
“In the next days we’re about to clear the ports of the protesters unless they leave them,” Zeidan reportedly said.
He also said tribal leaders were still holding talks to try to end the standoff peacefully.
Tribal chiefs have failed to persuade the group’s leader Ibrahim Jathran to end the siege of the ports, which has contributed to a halving of oil production since August.
The government has warned it will be unable to pay public salaries if the demonstrations continue.
Several deadlines set by Zeidan have passed without any action.
Authorities are struggling to rein in militias and tribesmen who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.