Middle Eastern media is reporting that protestors attacked the offices of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood yesterday following demonstrations over the assassination of a prominent critic of the Brotherhood. According to an Al Jazeera report:
July 27, 2013 Protesters have attacked offices of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and the headquarters of a liberal coalition after demonstrations caused by assassinations in the eastern city of Benghazi turned violent, witnesses said.
Hundreds took to the streets overnight to Saturday to denounce the killing of a prominent political activist and critic of the Brotherhood, Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, who was shot dead after leaving a mosque following Friday prayers.
Mosmary was an outspoken opponent of the Brotherhood, whose political wing is the second biggest party in the national congress, and regularly appeared on television criticising the presence of armed militias on Libya’s streets. Two military officials were also killed in Benghazi on Friday.
Libya’s weak central government is struggling to assert its authority over armed groups that helped topple slain leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, part of the wave of uprisings that also felled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) has the second-biggest number of seats in Libya’s legislature, and there has been growing opposition to its increasing influence.
A Benghazi resident, Rami al-Shahibi, said protesters set on fire two buildings – one belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and another to the JCP – in the city.
“They shouted “Gather your belongings. Benghazi wants you out,'” he said.
In Tripoli, a crowd gathered in the central Martyrs Square, saying they were there “in solidarity with Benghazi”, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.
A group of youths then descended on the offices of the JCP, smashing its windows as well as taking out documents and throwing them in the streets.
They also ransacked the headquarters of the liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA), the biggest party in the legislature, a witness said.
In June, Libyan lawmakers elected a Parliament chief strongly supported by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Justice and Construction Party.
In July 2012, the Libyan Brotherhood suffered what appeared to be a major loss when they finished a distant second place in national elections.
In 2011, the New York Times reported on what they called the “growing influence of Islamists in Libya”, identifying Qatari Muslim Brotherhood figure Ali Sallabi (aka Ali Salabi), already known to be the Revolution’s “spiritual leader and a close associate of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, as well as for the first time Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar who was said to lead the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council and is described as a “Muslim Brotherhood figure.” Our predecessor publication had reported on Ali Sallabi and his association with Qaradawi.
For analysis and background on the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, go here and here.