Libya: Tripoli protests against lawless militias

Some 2,000 protesters filled Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square Dec. 7 to demand withdrawal of the militia forces that have been in the capital since the fall of Moammar Qaddafi pull out of the city. Jurists and police were among the leaders of the march, accusing the militiamen of terrorizing residents with impunity. Placards read “No to weapons; Yes to justice!” The rally was organized by the city council and backed by the interim government. The militias, mostly from the cities of Misrata and Zintan, continue to occupying buildings that formerly housed Qaddafi cronies to use as their headquarters. The interim government is pressuring militiamen to go home and leave security functions to the police and the new army it plans to create. Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib and the city council have given militias until Dec. 20 to leave. (Reuters, Reuters, AFP, Dec. 7)

On the day of the rally, Libya’s attorney general said gunmen dragged him from his car in broad daylight in Tripoli, threatening to kill him if he didn’t release one of their jailed compatriots. His car had been blocked by a pick-up truck mounted with a machine-gun and filled with armed men. “Tripoli is not safe,” Attorney General Abdul-Aziz al-Hassady told the Associated Press hours after the attack. (AP, Dec. 7)

See our last posts on Libya, the Maghreb and the Arab revolutions.

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  1. Libyans protest in Benghazi against NTC regime
    Some 20,000 of thousands of protesters gathered in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Dec. 12—the biggest demonstration in the city since the revolt against Qaddafi started there in March. They filled the central Shajara square, which saw the first protests against Qaddafi, chanting “The revolution started in Benghazi.” They called for greater autonomy for the region, the resignation of the NTC leadership, and the purging of any Qaddafi holdovers from the new government. (AFP, Dec. 13; Reuters, News 24, South Africa, Dec. 12)