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Libyans keep up fight against militias

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

TRIPOLI — Libyan protesters again took to the streets of Tripoli on Tuesday, repeating their call for the country's recalcitrant militias to leave the capital since an attack on a similar protest killed 47 and wounded more than 500 last week.

Meanwhile, lawmakers of the country's interim parliament questioned embattled Prime Minister Ali Zidan over the violence and pressed the government to take action against the militias. Some called for dismissing him and his cabinet with a no-confidence vote and forming a crisis government.

The army deployed troops to the capital on Monday in what was the first show of state control there since the overthrow of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. However, disgruntled militias accused the government of packing the force with former pro-Gadhafi fighters, describing the deployment as a “coup.”

Residents have given the troops a warm reception, ululating, clapping and flashing V-for-victory signs in support. Some marchers chanted: “Libya is not (war) booty.” Protesters distributed sweets to policemen who arrived to protect the demonstration.

Tripoli University spokesman Mahmoud Fathallah said that the university is on strike until Thursday in protest against the militias. The rest of the city has not ended a strike that began shortly after Friday's killings.

During and after the war, thousands of rebels who fought Gadhafi formed “brigades,” which the government later used to fill a security vacuum until the national army and police could be rebuilt. However, the units turned into militias, expanding in power and putting pressure on the fledgling government.

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