The Libyan revolution against the dictator government of Muammar Gaddafi last year became successful through the backing of the NATO, and with the armed groups as the front liners.
However, after the successful take over by the new Libyan government, these armed groups that helped topple Gaddafi refused to surrender their firearms to the government and to be disbanded. Their members did not even join the Libya’s Security forces, and they continue to control large part of Libya.
At first, militias seemed just fine for the Libyans. Or maybe, they just keep silent. But it is of course obvious that the new government saw these militias as their main problem in promoting democracy to the whole Libyan nation, especially that there are armed groups that are calling for the establishment of an Islamic state.
But after the death of the US Ambassador last week (September 11) when attacked by the armed men during the protest held by Muslim Libyans against the anti-Muslim filmed made in America, Libyan citizens realized that there is really a need to disband these militias.
The US Ambassador, Chris Stevens, is considered by Libyans as their friend, and others considered him a hero of the Libyan revolution especially that Stevens worked side by side by the Libyan rebels during the revolution. And the lost of a friend led them to march and protest against these militias, especially that one of the militias, Ansar al-Sharia, has been linked to the attacked of the US Consulate office that killed three Americans including the Ambassador.
On Friday, thousands (estimated 30,000 according to reports) of Libyans in Benghazi marched in the city urging the government to disband these Islamist armed groups. On the evening, protesters seized several headquarters of these pro-government militias. The militias fled and the people who seized the headquarters surrendered them to the government forces.
We just don’t know if protesters action against militias is in coordination with the government forces. But the seizure of the militias’ headquarters by the protesters and the handing over to the government forces seemed coordinated.