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Thousands of Libyans took to the streets of Benghazi Friday (August 1st) to denounce extremist terror and plead for the restoration of security.
Ansar al-Sharia and its allies responded by shooting at civilian demonstrators in the districts of Buatni, Garyounis and in front of the February 17 camp.
A source from the health ministry said that the death toll last week reached at least 214 people and close to 1,000 were wounded.
Citizens who gathered in front of Tibesti Hotel were tired of the violence.
“I came with my daughters to participate in the demonstration, demanding that the world stand by us to get rid of extremist militias, which are terrorising us even in our homes. We are fed up with the sound of bullets and destruction,” 45-year-old Fatima Ouerfali told Magharebia.
“We want a g Libyan army and a police force that secures citizens. We do not want militias,” she added.
Nineteen-year-old Nizar Elourfi said, “I came to participate in the demonstration without the knowledge of my mother because she is afraid for me… I want the world to know that we are people who hate terrorism and extremism, and we want the army and the police.”
“I have a good friend who joined Ansar al-Sharia and I think he was misled because he is good and believes everything he is being told,” the youth added. “He is remorseful and wants to return to his family, but cannot because he is afraid of his leaders.”
For his part, al-Bayda resident Salem Eloukli said, “We came from various eastern Libyan cities to participate in this event. We came from Derna, Tobruk, Marj, al-Bayda, Quba, Shahat and Ajdabiya to say in one voice, no to terrorism and yes to the army and the police.”
Ansar al-Sharia reclaims Jalaa hospital
The popular movement against Ansar-al-Sharia started Wednesday when some 50 people gathered outside the Tibesti Hotel for a rally against terrorism. The crowd grew to several hundred youths as it moved toward Jalaa hospital.
The young protestors reportedly ignored warning shots from Ansar al-Sharia fighters and entered the facility, where they tore down the Islamists’ black banner and replaced it with the flag of Libya.
But shortly after their eviction from Benghazi’s Jalaa hospital, Ansar al-Sharia fighters on Thursday night (July 31st) reclaimed control of the building, Libya Herald reported.
“Ansar al-Sharia was securing the hospital from the beginning of the revolution to try to show their good side,” 43-year-old teacher Fethia Saleh who lives near the hospital said.
“Yet when the street rejected them and asked them to evacuate the place and leave it to security forces, their reaction was that: we either secure the hospital or the people should forget about safety,” she noted.
Saleh said the group used the hospital as its headquarters.
“In recent days they did not allow anyone to enter or get treatment except for doctors and nurses because they needed them to treat their wounded elements,” she said.
Ayman Khaled, a salesman at a shop near the hospital, said that health staff refused to return “for fear of attack by Ansar al-Sharia and their return to control the hospital”.
Medical workers stayed home “for fear for our lives from kidnapping and threats”, nurse Hanan Jehani from Jalaa hospital said.
“There is no protection for the hospital that’s why we could not continue to work and we left it to them, including medical devices and equipment,” she explained.
An unsuccessful attempt by Saiqa Special Forces to oust Ansar al-Sharia from the hospital in mid-July left seven people dead.
Source : Magharebia