Thousands of protestors in Benghazi marched together on Friday night to run armed militia groups, including one accused of being responsible for the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, out of town.
A coordinated sweep of militia bases by government troops, police and thousands of protestors went through Bengahzi on Friday night. The group descended on the base of the anti-Islamist Ansar al-Sharia and forced them to retreat "to preserve security." The protests are being seen as a response to built up frustration for the groups that were holding the country back from development since Muammar Qaddafi's outing last year. 11 People were killed and 60 were wounded across the city as militias tried to defend their bases. Ansar al-Sharia operated out of what used to be the headquarters for Qaddafi's security forces. "This place is like the Bastille. This is where Gaddafi controlled Libya from, and then Ansar al-Sharia took it over. This is a turning point for the people of Benghazi," said one protestor.
Looters made off with rifles and small arms, but at some bases the protestors set up road blocks to make sure no one was running off with heavy weapons. At the former base of the Sahaty Brigade, three people were killed and about 20 were injured as the militia and protestors exchanged "rocket and light arms fire," for two hours before the militia retreated. The bases were handed over to the Libyan military.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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