Libyans hold massive march against militias
BENGHAZI, Libya — Around 30,000 Libyans marched through the eastern city of Benghazi today in an unprecedented protest to demand the disbanding of powerful militias in the wake of last week’s attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, in which at least one militia is suspected of participating, has sparked a backlash among many Libyans against the multiple armed factions that have run rampant for months in cities around the country.
The militias have become more powerful than the regular security forces, and successive governments since last year’s fall of Moammar Gadhafi have been unable to rein them in.
The militias, which are the legacy of the “revolutionary brigades” that fought Gadhafi in the civil war, have taken on roles as security, guarding state facilities and neighborhoods, but they also are accused of acting like gangs, detaining people, intimidating critics and clashing in the streets.