Libya NTC backers stage rival protest

2011-12-13 21:20

Benghazi - More than 1 000 Libyans gathered at a key square in Benghazi on Tuesday to back ruling National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the target of a rival protest for the past two days.

"People want Mustafa Abdel Jalil," chanted the crowds of men and women at the landmark Tahrir (Liberation) Square where several demonstrations were held against Muammar Gaddafi when the uprising against him erupted in February.

Crowds shouting "Libya, Libya!" gathered at the square as rival demonstrations in Benghazi were held against the NTC and Jalil.

Hundreds of disgruntled protesters from the city, cradle of the uprising, have been demonstrating since Monday at the city's Shajar Square over the NTC's lack of transparency and against Jalil's willingness to forgive pro-Gaddafi fighters.

The first anti-Gaddafi demonstration was held in Shajar Square on February 15.

Faced with angry calls against Abdel Jalil, the NTC late on Monday announced that Benghazi would be the future economic capital of the North African country.

But anti-NTC protesters dismissed these assurances and demonstrated on Tuesday for a second straight day.