BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 21, 2012 (AFP) -
BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 21, 2012 (AFP) –
Libya’s second city Benghazi braced for rival demonstrations Friday by a jihadist militia and its opponents with tensions still running high after a deadly attack on the US consulate last week.
The hardline Salafist group Ansar Al-Sharia called for protests over a US-made film that mocks Islam and cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by a French satirical weekly.
The group, which has denied playing any role in the September 11 attack in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, urged supporters to rally around Al-Kish Square which was a key battleground in the uprising that overthrew veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi last year.
The demonstration was set for 5 pm (1500 GMT), the same time as a “Save Benghazi” march organised by militia opponents was due to head for the square from the Mediterranean city’s Tibesti Hotel.
Organisers called the march to demand that central government tame the armed groups that have retained huge power since the Western-backed uprising that overthrew Kadhafi.
Benghazi was the cradle of the revolt and is still home to several loosely-organized militias with varying degrees of ties to the interim government.