Hundreds rally in support for Libya's Haftar

Hundreds rally across the country in support of General, who says he has a "mandate to fight terrorism".

    Hundreds of Libyan demonstrators have taken to the streets for a second week to support a renegade general who launched an armed campaign against armed groups in the restive east of the country.

    On Friday, supporters of General Khalifa Haftar gathered in Tripoli's Martyr square and other cities where they protested against the parliament and its newly appointed prime minister, chanting: "The army of dignity is coming."

    Rallies were also taking place in Tobruk, Baida and Benghazi.

    Haftar has welcomed the street rallies and said they had given him a "mandate to fight terrorism". 

    Similar protests took place last week, also in support of Haftar, who said he aimed to crush hardline religious groups backed by parliament and impose stability after three years of chaos following the overthrow and killing of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

    Local media footage showed protesters in Tripoli destroying a coffin on which they had written "Ansar al-Sharia," the name of an al-Qaeda-inspired armed group, and Ahmed Maiteg, the name of the newly appointed prime minister.

    Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Tripoli, said that the protests were a clear sign that many were fed up with the armed groups and - while not necessarily supporting Haftar - were protesting against what they called terrorism in the country.

    Libya's weak central government has struggled to assert control over former rebel brigades turned militias, many of which are more loyal to tribe, region or ideology than to the government in Tripoli.

    Haftar's supporters have accused the parliament of funding fighters while his detractors have accused him of staging a "coup" against the elected assembly.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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