22 Sep 2012

Libyans storm militia bases in Benghazi

Ansar al-Sharia, blamed for consulate attack, forced to evacuate base as public anger against armed groups boils over. At least one person has died and 20 others injured after demonstrators in Benghazi attempted to storm the headquarters of militias based in the eastern Libyan city.


Protesters seized the headquarters of the Ansar al-Sharia militia and evicted its fighters from its bases on Friday night. The confrontation appeared to be part of a co-ordinated sweep of militia headquarters buildings by police, government troops and activists following a mass public demonstration against armed groups earlier in the day.

Ansar al-Sharia has been linked to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last week in which  J Christopher Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans died amid demonstrations over a YouTube video deemed insulting to Prophet Muhammad. The group denies any involvement in the killing of Stevens.

Chanting "Libya, Libya," hundreds of demonstrators entered the compound, pulling down militia flags and torching a vehicle inside the headquarters, Ansar al-Sharia's main base in Benghazi - once an internal security base under former leader Muammar Gaddafi. People in the crowd waved swords and even a meat cleaver, shouting "No more al-Qaeda!" and "The blood we shed for freedom shall not go in vain!"

Al Jazeera English