Pro-Islamist rally in Benghazi turns violent

Supporters of Ansar Al-Sharia . . .[restrict]at a recent demonstration in Benghazi.

Benghazi, 28 September:

Violent clashes erupted in Benghazi this evening after protesters marched in support of the Islamist Ansar Al-Shari brigade, which was disbanded following a massive anti-militia demonstration in the city last Friday.

Hand grenades were thrown and two cars set ablaze after some 200 men converged on a security forces building under the control of the Interior Ministry.

Warning shots were reportedly fired by personnel inside the compound, prompting the demonstrators to launch the attack.

“There is no loss of life; we have taken control of the situation,” General Manaa Bin Hamid of the army’s newly created National Mobile Force told the AFP news agency.

The demonstrators had previously marched on Benghazi’s Al-Jalaa hospital, which Ansar Al-Sharia had been responsible for guarding until last Friday.

Earlier in the day, organisers had called off a second “Save Benghazi” rally, which was planned in opposition to the continued existence of brigades such as Ansar Al-Sharia.

Last Friday, between 30,000-40,000 demonstrators had marched through Benghazi calling for an end of militia rule in Libya, the largest gathering of its kind since the revolution.

Some 200 demonstrators did stage an anti-militia rally in Tripoli this evening, in which calls for a crackdown on hardline Islamists were also heard.

Two demonstrators were beaten and arrested at the Tripoli gathering by members of the Supreme Security Committee, including one of the rally’s organisers. [/restrict]

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