Muslim Brotherhood offices attacked in Libyan cities
Demonstrations sparked by assassinations in Benghazi turn violent
Protesters demonstrate early this miorning against the killing of lawyer and prominent Libyan political activist Abdelsalam al-Mosmary on the streets of Benghazi. Photograph: Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters
Protesters attacked offices of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and the headquarters of a liberal coalition today after demonstrations sparked by assassinations in the eastern city of Benghazi turned violent, witnesses said.
Hundreds took to the streets overnight to denounce the killing of a prominent political activist and critic of the Brotherhood, Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, who was shot dead yesterdyay after leaving a mosque following Friday prayers.
Mosmary was an outspoken opponent of the Brotherhood, whose Islamist political wing is the second biggest party in the national congress, and regularly appeared on television criticising the presence of armed militias on Libya’s streets. Two military officials were also killed in Benghazi yesterday.
Libya’s weak central government is struggling to assert its authority over armed groups that helped topple veteran leader Muammar Gadafy in 2011, part of the wave of Arab Spring uprisings that also felled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) has the second-biggest number of seats in Libya’s legislature, and there has been growing opposition to its increasing influence.
A Benghazi resident, Rami al-Shahibi, said protesters set on fire two buildings - one belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and another to the JCP - in the city. In Tripoli, a crowd gathered in the central Martyrs Square, saying they were there “in solidarity with Benghazi”, a witness at the scene said.
A group of youths then descended on the offices of the JCP, smashing its windows as well as taking out documents and throwing them in the streets.
They also ransacked the headquarters of the liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA), the biggest party in the legislature.