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Deaths At Libya Militia Protest

by 15/11/2013 20:48:00 0 comments 665 Views
Deaths At Libya Militia Protest
protesters

At least 13 people have been killed and 130 injured in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, state media say, after militiamen opened fire on protesters.

The demonstrators had marched to the headquarters of the Misrata militia to demand that it leave Tripoli.

Hours after the incident, armed men returned to storm the compound, where militiamen are still holed up.

The Libyan government has been struggling to contain numerous militias who control many parts of the country.

There have been increasing demands from civilians that the militias - which emerged during the 2011 revolution - disband or join the army, in line with an end-of-year deadline set by the interim government in Tripoli.

Government roadblocks

Saddat al-Badri, the leader of Tripoli's local council, who was at the initial protest, said demonstrators had gone there peacefully, but the militiamen "fired their weapons as soon as we arrived, there was a 106mm used, and even an RPG".

"The protesters were not armed and they were all there chanting 'Libya'," he said, adding that the city risked descending into armed warfare.

Map

The BBC's Rana Jawad, in Tripoli, says military jets could be seen and heard flying low over the Airport Road area, and heavy gunfire was ringing out.

Witnesses said that armed men had stormed the militia HQ hours after the protesters were shot at, with some buildings set on fire.

Army vehicles have reportedly arrived to seal off roads and try to separate the combatants.

The militia was involved in clashes in the capital last week which left two people dead.

Last month, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly seized by a militia group in Tripoli.

Two years after the overthrow of Col Muammar Gaddafi, Libya still has no constitution and divisions between secular and Islamist forces have paralysed parliament.

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