Libyan Protesters Target Militias
Thousands gathered in Benghazi on September 21 to participate in “Rescue Benghazi Day,” a rally to support Libyan democracy and to protest the expansion of independent militias. ”It’s obvious that this protest is against the militias. All of them should join the army or security forces as individuals, not as groups,” student Ahmed Sanallah said. “Without that, there will be no prosperity and no success for the new Libya.” Over night, protesters swept through several militia bases including that of Ansar al-Sharia, a group some U.S. and Libyan officials say is responsible for last week’s attack on the U.S. embassy. ”After what happened at the American consulate, the people of Benghazi had enough of the extremists,” demonstrator Hassan Ahmed said. The attack on Ansar al-Sharia’s compound triggered an armed response leaving 11 people dead and another 60 wounded.
The U.S. Senate rejected, by a vote of 81 to 10, a proposal to cut aid to Pakistan, Egypt, and Libya as a response to the recent embassy attacks. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Libya Mustafa A.G. Abushagur wrote an op-ed calling for continued cooperation between Libya and the U.S. He condemned the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens saying, “There is never a justification for terrorism. It runs counter to the foundations and values of a free Libya, of democracy and of Islam. The Libyan people are determined to bring to justice those who were involved in the attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last week. He acknowledged that Libya is experiencing a difficult time but urged Americans, “Do not lose faith in Libya. Stand with us as we build a democratic society, and help us transform our country into a beacon of hope for a region once plagued by despotism.”