Libyans react to Benghazi assassinations

By Essam Mohamed in Tripoli and Asma Elourfi in Benghazi for Magharebia – 29/07/2013

Demonstrators took to the streets of several Libyan cities following dawn prayers on Saturday (July 27th) to denounce several recent assassinations in Benghazi, including that of prominent political activist Abdessalam Musmari.

In Tripoli, several streets were blocked off, and hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Martyrs’ Square to condemn the murders of Musmari, Major General Salem Alsarah, Colonel Khatab Younes Al-Zwyi and a policeman from the Hadayeq police station.

Protesters demanded that all political parties be closed for not being constitutional, as they were formed before the Constitution was drawn.

Demonstrators carried banners calling for the fall of parties: “Down with the government of the Muslim Brotherhood,” they chanted.

“We want army and police… Libya is in trouble… No to parties … Libya only,” they added.

The offices of the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) and the National Forces Alliance (NFA) were closed. About a hundred protesters stormed JCP headquarters in Tripoli, inflicting much damage before moving on to those of the NFA.

Musmari was killed after leaving Friday prayers at the Abu Ghoula mosque in Benghazi’s Birkah neighbourhood.

“He had a bullet directly in his heart,” Benghazi Joint Security Forces (BJSF) spokesman Mohamed Hejazi told the Libya Herald. “This was a very accurate attack and the BJSF thinks that it could have been the work of a sniper.”

There were no witnesses to the assault.

A founder of the February 17th Coalition, Musmari was known for his opposition to armed militias and to the Muslim Brotherhood. He frequently appeared on television to call on Benghazi residents to demand more security. One of his last appearances was on Libya 1st Channel’s ‘The Awakening of a Homeland”, during which he discussed the country’s lack of security.

He had already been physically attacked last May after denouncing the activity of armed militias and their siege of the ministries of justice and interior.

Libyans were very much saddened by Musmari’s assassination.

“He was a patriot and spoke the truth at a time when voices are being silenced,” 34-year-old engineer Nasser al-Obeidi said.

“Libya is on its way to chaos,” fellow Benghazi resident Mohammed Idris al-Rafadi said angrily. “O people of Libya! What are you doing? Let us say, is there a reasonable approach to save the homeland?”

Saturday also marked the anniversary of the death of General Abdel Fattah Younes. His case is still unresolved.

“If the circumstances of the assassination of Musmari and its perpetrators are not uncovered, similar operations against others will take place,” Salem Fitouri cautioned.






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