Conflict & Justice

Libya: Clashes at ex-rebel headquarters leave 7 dead


Libyan protesters hold placards and banners during a demonstration in support of the Political Isolation Law in Libya's landmark Martyrs Square' on May 5, 2013 in Tripoli, Libya. Libya's General National Congress, under pressure from armed militias, voted through a controversial law to exclude former regime officials from government posts. Gunmen who had surrounded the foreign and justice ministries lifted the sieges when state television broke the news.


Mahmud Turkia

At least seven people were killed and 30 wounded Saturday after demonstrators attacked the Benghazi headquarters of the former rebels who fought to oust Moammar Gaddafi.

Dozens of protesters had demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Libya Shield brigade, demanding the militia lay down its arms nearly two years after the overthrow of Gaddafi, according to Reuters.

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Militia members say they are operating with defense ministry approval.

Fighting erupted after protesters encircled the headquarters and called on regular security forces to step in, AFP reported.

Resentment against such militias has been growing in recent months, particularly after militiamen laid siege to ministries in Tripoli in late April in an attempt to force their will on the National Assembly.

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Benghazi residents managed to force other militias from their bases in October.

"People protested because they believe militias go against Libya's stability, which can only be achieved through a proper army and police," local activist Ahmed Belashahr told Reuters.