Benghazi Anti-Militia Protest
Benghazians continue to demonstrate against the Islamist who killed Amb. Chris Stevens. This trend may goad the GNC to take the decisive action that the NTC avoided. Read more about today’s protests from the HuffPost article– Benghazi Anti-Militia Protest: Libyans March Against Armed Groups After U.S. Embassy Attack.
Hundreds of protesters angry over last week’s killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya stormed the compound of the Islamic extremist militia suspected in the attack, evicting militiamen and setting fire to their building Friday. In an unprecedented show of public anger at Libya’s rampant militias, the crowd overwhelmed the compound of the Ansar al-Shariah Brigade in the center of the eastern city of Benghazi.
The public backlash comes in part in frustration with the interim government, which has been unable to rein in the armed factions. Many say that officials’ attempts to co-opt fighters by paying them have only fueled the growth of militias without bringing them under state control or integrating them into the regular forces. Residents of another main eastern city, Darna, have also begun to stand up against Ansar al-Shariah and other militias.
The anti-militia fervor in Darna is notable because the city, in the mountains along the Mediterranean coast north of Benghazi, has long had a reputation as a stronghold for Islamic extremists. During the Gadhafi era, it was the hotbed of a deadly Islamist insurgency against his regime. A significant number of the Libyan jihadists who travelled to Afghanistan and Iraq during recent wars came from Darna. During the revolt against him last year, Gadhafi’s regime warned that Darna would declare itself an Islamic Emirate and ally itself with al-Qaida. But now, the residents are lashing out against Ansar al-Shariah, the main Islamic extremist group in the city.