By Noora Ibrahim and Adam Ali.
Benghazi, 13 October 2014:
Demonstrations are being planned in Benghazi on Wednesday as individuals from across the . . .[restrict]city prepare themselves for what appears to be an armed insurrection against Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council (BRSC).
The pro-government forces of Operation Dignity have seized upon the ground-swell of support saying that with the assistance of local residents they will reenter Benghazi on 15 October.
The campaign for the day of mass action has spread rapidly on social media. Benghazi residents have claimed they will band together with whatever arms they can find to drive Islamist forces from the city. Pictures have appeared on Facebook and Twitter showing individuals, particularly young men, brandishing guns and wearing black face masks.
The apparently spontaneous plans for the demonstrations seem to have taken their impetus from small but vocal protests on Saturday in Benghazi’s Bodema district when masked gunmen, some members of the police, took to the streets in support of pro-government forces.
Mohamed Al-Hejazi, the spokesman for Operation Dignity, told the Libya Herald pro-government forces had said since the beginning of their operations in May that they would only be able to succeed in their campaign if they had the support of the people of Benghazi.
Hejazi said that Dignity forces wished to see as little bloodshed as possible on Wednesday and has asked all those who do not intend to participate to stay at home. He explained that the fighting could last for days.
Hejazi said Operation Dignity had asked those planning to join them to handover any “terrorists or criminals” to pro-government forces. Dignity has asked residents to raid areas they know to be used by BRSC and stop any vehicles transporting weapons or ammunition.
Demonstrators have been asked to not engage in acts of sabotage or theft and to limit any violence in the aftermath of the fighting to a minimum, Hejazi explained. His statements were similar to those broadcast on television and information on pamphlets dropped by Operation Dignity from the air over Benghazi.
Recent calls for demonstrations in the city have gone largely unnoticed as residents have feared being caught-up in violence.
On Friday an explosive device killed one man and left two bystanders injured outside Benghazi’s Tibesti Hotel which had been a focal point for demonstrations in the city during the revolution and afterwards. [/restrict]