Libyans on streets to protest militias
SOME 30,000 Libyans marched through the eastern city of Benghazi yesterday in an unprecedented protest to demand the disbanding of powerful militias in the wake of last week’s attack that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.
The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which at least one militia is suspected of participating, has sparked a backlash among many Libyans against the multiple armed factions that have run rampant for months in cities around the country.
The militias have become more powerful than the regular security forces, and successive governments since last year’s fall of Muammar Gaddafi have been unable to rein them in.
The militias, which are the legacy of the “revolutionary brigades” that fought Gaddafi in the civil war, have taken on roles as security, guarding state facilities and neighbourhoods, but they also are accused of acting like gangs, detaining people, intimidating critics and clashing in the streets.
Yesterday’s march targeted Ansar al-Sharia, a militia of Islamic extremists whom Libyan officials and witnesses say participated in the consulate attack.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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