Haftar supporters, opponents protest in Libya's Tripoli

Both supporters and opponents of renegade Libyan army commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are currently engaged in deadly fighting with militiamen, staged Friday protests in Tripoli.

Haftar supporters, opponents protest in Libya's Tripoli

World Bulletin/News Desk

Hundreds of Libyans converged on Al-Shuhada (Martyrs) Square to show support for Haftar's ongoing campaign, dubbed "Operation Dignity," the stated aim of which is to "purge" Libya of "extremists."

Only meters away, dozens of anti-Haftar demonstrators gathered in Algeria Square to protest what they describe as an attempt to abort the country's nascent democracy.

A similar scene was reported in the eastern city of Benghazi, where dozens have been killed since Haftar's offensive – in which at least one military plane was used – began on Friday.

Haftar's supporters carried posters reading "Yes to Operation Dignity" and "Benghazi is with Haftar," while those in the rival camp raised banners reading "The coup era is over" and "Haftar is another Gaddafi" – the latter a reference to late strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted by a 2011 uprising.

Fears have mounted recently that Libya is slipping towards civil war after forces loyal to Haftar took up arms against militia groups serving as part of Libya's regular army.

The Libyan government, for its part, has described Haftar's operation as a "coup" against "legitimacy."

Haftar's operation in restive Benghazi has caused some wrangling between army leaders, who appear split between backing Haftar's offensive and supporting Libya's elected interim government.

Libyan authorities have struggled to restore law and order since Gaddafi's ouster and death in 2011 amid the continued refusal of armed militias – which helped overthrow the late leader – to give up their weapons.

Last Mod: 24 Mayıs 2014, 09:18
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