16 November 2013, 13:23

Libyan PM Zeidan blames protestors and militias for recent violence that killed 32 people

Libyan PM Zeidan blames protestors and militias for recent violence that killed 32 people

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has blamed both the protesters and militiamen for violence that has killed at least 32 people, saying that the protesters were armed.

Zeidan spoke late Friday, hours after Libyan militiamen attacked protesters who demanded the disbanding of the country's rampant armed groups.

Zeidan said the protesters carried weapons.

Hesham Mohamed said: "You can't open fire at people who are exchanging fire."

Witnesses there said they saw no weapons among the protesters.

Zeidan also said that after the government gave permission to protesters to hold their demonstrations in front of a mosque in Tripoli, protesters instead marched to the headquarters of the militia group.

The militiamen used heavy machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades on the protesters.

32 killed, almost 400 wounded as Tripoli residents clash with militia

At least 32 people were killed and almost 400 wounded in gun battles between Libyan militiamen and armed residents in Tripoli on Friday in some of the worst street fighting in the capital since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Friday's bloodshed began when militiamen from the city of Misrata opened fire on about 500 protesters who had gathered outside the militia's headquarters, some of them carrying white flags, to demand their eviction from the capital.

Tripoli local council leader Sadat al-Badri told AFP that the militia fired at the demonstrators from inside the militia headquarters.

A militia leader told private TV channel Al-Naba that the demonstrators had opened fire first.

A Reuters reporter saw an anti-aircraft cannon firing from the militia's gated compound into the crowd as protesters chanted: "We don't want armed militias!"

Demonstrators fled but then returned, heavily armed, to attack the compound, where the militiamen remained holed up until early morning as fighting continued. Rocket-propelled grenades could be heard.

Dozens of soldiers in trucks tried to separate the sides, and sealed off roads to stop more people joining the clashes.

Read more:

27 killed, 235 wounded in clashes between militias and armed residents in Tripoli – Libyan PM

15 dead, 95 hurt as Tripoli residents rebel against militias

13 killed, 130 wounded in Tripoli clashes - state news agency

Voice of Russia, AFP, RT, Reuters, CTV

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