Benghazi: At least eleven people were killed and over seventy were injured in a violent attack on Saturday after angry protestors stormed the Islamic extremist militia bases of the Ansar al-Shariah Brigade in Benghazi.
The attacks were in the wake of killing of the US ambassador to Libya ten days ago after furore over anti-Islam film.
Ansar al-Shariah fighters initially fired in the air to disperse the crowd, but eventually abandoned the site with their weapons and vehicles after it was overrun by waves of protesters shouting "No to militias."
"I don't want to see armed men wearing Afghani-style clothes stopping me in the street to give me orders, I only want to see people in uniform," said Omar Mohammed, a university student who took part in the takeover of the site, which protesters said was done in support of the Army and police.
After taking over the Ansar compound, protesters then drove to attack the Benghazi headquarters of another Islamist militia, Rafallah Sahati. The militiamen opened fire on the protesters, who were largely unarmed.
Earlier in the day, some 30,000 people filled a broad boulevard as they marched along a lake in central Benghazi to the gates of the headquarters of Ansar al-Shariah.
The march was the biggest seen in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and home to 1 million people, since the fall of Gaddafi in August 2011. The public backlash comes in part in frustration with the interim government, which has been unable to rein in the armed factions.
The September 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was the last straw for many Libyans in one of the biggest problems Libya has faced since the ouster and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi around a year ago — the multiple mini-Armies that with their arsenals of machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades are stronger than the regular armed forces and police.
(With Agency Inputs)
First Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012, 09:38