At least six people have been killed and 50 wounded in Tripoli after gunmen opened fire on protesters who had called on armed groups to leave Tripoli.
The demonstration on Friday followed calls by imams during weekly Muslim prayers for protests against armed groups and former fighters who refuse to disarm and who pose a challenge to the central government two years after the fall of Mouammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising.
Hundreds of people carrying white flags in a sign of peace, as well as the national flag, and singing the national anthem, had assembled in the capital’s Meliana Square.
They then marched to the Misrata armed group’s headquarters in the Gharghour district to press their demands before gunmen open fire on the protest.
Residents of Tripoli frequently demonstrate against the armed groups, who have rejected calls from a weak central government to leave the capital.
Libya has tried to co-opt different groups by putting them on the government payroll and drafting them to provide security in Tripoli and other cities.
But the gunmen often remain loyal to their commanders rather than to the authorities.
Clashes between rival groups still break out in the capital, where Libya’s nascent armed forces are still in training and cannot challenge the heavily armed groups.
Just weeks ago, armed men seized Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and held him for several hours before releasing him. [AlJazeera]