Anti-militia protests show frailty of Libyan state

4:33 PM, Sep 22, 2012   |    comments
Libyan women protest against Ansar al-Shariah Brigades and other Islamic militias in fron of the Tebesty Hotel in Benghazi, Libya.
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BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) - Residents of Libya's second-largest city are warning of a "revolution" to get rid of militias and Islamic extremists.

Protests against the armed groups, spurred in part by the killing of the U.S. ambassador, have left at least four dead.

Authorities in Libya are trying to stem popular anger, pleading that some of the militias are needed to keep the country safe since the police and army are incapable of doing so.

A mass protest Friday against militias turned into assaults by thousands against the compounds of several armed groups in Benghazi that lasted into early Saturday. Crowds stormed the headquarters of Ansar al-Shariah, driving out the gunmen and setting fire to cars in the compound. Then they moved onto the base of a second Islamist militia, whose troops opened fire to keep the protesters at bay.

The state news agency says four protesters were killed and 70 injured in the overnight violence.

During the day Saturday, there were no new protests.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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