Libya Women Demonstrate Against Militia Violence

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 10:43 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Hundreds of Libyan women have taken to the streets of Tripoli to protest violence by militia groups that dominate large swaths of their country, Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.
 
"We are protesting on behalf of the innocent citizens who peacefully took to the streets against the militias and gave their lives for it," said Waad Mizdawi, a student participating in the anti-militia demonstrations taking place in the Libyan capital.

Hundreds of other women have joined Mizdawi in Tripoli’s Algeria Square to demand that the Libyan military and police forces be strengthened and the militias disarmed. Mizdawi is getting signatures for a petition to that end, which will be submitted to government officials.

"The blood of the martyrs has not been shed in vain," the women chanted.

The urgency of confronting the militias was driven home to many Libyans by Friday’s tragic events in Tripoli. The violence began when militias opened fire on unarmed demonstrators who were peacefully protesting militia activity, the Financial Times reported.

Forty-three people were killed and 400  more were wounded in the shooting and in clashes that subsequently broke out between rival armed groups in Tripoli.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan called on the militias to leave Tripoli, and Justice Minister Salah Merghani denounced Friday’s violence as "heinous."

Militias in Benghazi — many of them Islamist — have repeatedly opened fire on protesters demanding that they disband. Security in that city has deteriorated badly in the past year, the FT reported.

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