Tripoli, 20 December:
Clashes between security forces and demonstrators outside the Benghazi Security Directorate left at least two policemen dead and several more wounded today.
The group gathered outside the building in the Al-Hawari district this evening to call for the release of a man arrested on Sunday in connection with the murder of Benghazi police chief Faraj Drissi, according to reports.
A number of the demonstrators were carrying weapons, the security directorate told the Libya Herald, and members of the security forces withdrew into the building as tensions rose.
Police said that an “armed group” had opened fire on the building first, while the demonstrators claim that policemen shot at them from inside the building.
The ensuing shootout left two members of the security forces dead and another four wounded, the Benghazi Medical Centre said. It is understood that some demonstrators were also wounded and killed in the fighting, although no further details are available at present.
Meanwhile, Benghazi police spokesman Majdi Al-Araffi issued a statement yesterday saying that the suspect arrested over Drissi’s death had been questioned and was being treated well.
Al-Araffi also said that the suspect had been transferred to a location outside Benghazi without giving more details, although sources who wished to remain anonymous told the Libya Herald that he had been sent to Tripoli.
Faraj Drissi, who was head of the Benghazi Security Directorate, was killed in a drive-by shooting outside his home in the city’s Sabri district on 21 November.
His murder was one of a string of killings targeting security officials in Benghazi this year, in what some believe is a systematic campaign of assassination.