TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — At least 31 people are dead after Libyan militiamen opened fire today on protesters demanding that the militias be disbanded. More than 200 others were wounded in a barrage of heavy machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades.
Libya's prime minister blames both the militias and the protesters, although witnesses say they saw no protesters carrying weapons ahead of today's shooting.
By nightfall, though, some protesters joined by other militias had armed themselves, and heavy gunfire rang out in the Tripoli neighborhood where the attack happened.
Armed groups have set up checkpoints across the capital, hoping to stop other militias from entering the city.
Today's march in Tripoli by thousands of protesters was the biggest show of public anger at militias in months. Since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, hundreds of militias -- many on the government payroll -- have run out of control in Libya. They've carved out zones of power, defied state authority and launched violent attacks.
APPHOTO CAI102: This image made from video shows a protester holding up spent ammunition in Tripoli, Libya after militiamen attacked peaceful protesters demanding the disbanding of the country's rampant armed groups on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, killing tens of people as they opened fire on the march with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. (AP Photo via AP video) (15 Nov 2013)
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