Violence breaks out in Libyan capital

Militia members opposed to Islamist control of the Libyan government launched a violent protest on Sunday. Militias from Zintan overtook the Libyan parliament building, prompting large-scale unrest in the capital of Tripoli.
By JC Finley   |   May 19, 2014 at 3:53 PM   |   Comments

TRIPOLI, Libya, May 19 (UPI) -- Fighting erupted in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Sunday in what has been described as the worst violence since the 2011 revolution that deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Armed men stormed Libya's parliament on Sunday, although they reportedly launched their assault after lawmakers had departed for the day.

Militias from the western mountainous city of Zintan took part; in the words of the al-Qaaqaa briagde, its members "heeded the call of the homeland to save it from the abusing politicians..."

The Zintan militias have issued previous threats against the the General National Congress, accusing the government and parliament of being controlled by Islamists.

Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani, speaking at a late evening press conference, called for an "immediate stop" to the use of violence in political protest.

"The government condemns the use of armed force as a means of political expression by all parties and calls for an immediate stop in the use of the military arsenal the Libyan people own, to stop using it to express political views and calls on everyone to come under the umbrella of legitimacy."

One Twitter user, who claims to live near the Tripoli airport, tweeted his first-hand account of the unrest. He posted a photo Sunday of a nearby apartment building he later said was struck by a Grad missile, not an RPG. In a subsequent update, he said that the father who lived in the apartment hit by the missile was "either injured or dead..."

Sharif Kouddous, an independent journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent, posted a photo to Twitter with the caption "Heavy gunfire and sounds of artillery. Huge plume of black smoke rises in the distance."

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