Libya: Protests, coup attempt claims and chaos

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Libya: Protests, coup attempt claims and chaos

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Amid growing anarchy in Libya, Islamist demonstrators have denounced the capture of al Qaeda suspect Abu Anas al-Liby by US special forces.

It is a week since the Libyan citizen was seized in Tripoli. He is wanted over the deadly bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

“We want to be ruled by Islamic law” shouted the crowd in Benghazi, accusing Libya’s own government of playing a role in the operation.

Pledging support for al-Liby and calling him an “oppressed Muslim brother”, protester Mohamed Omar said: “our anger for him is because he is Muslim.”

The country’s prime minister Ali Zeidan claims gunmen who kidnapped him briefly on Thursday were part of a coup attempt by political opponents.

Zeidan was snatched from the Tripoli hotel where he lives, during a dawn raid, but released hours later.

Addressing the nation, Zeidan said: “There are those who want Libya to enter the realms of the unknown and to turn Libya into a new Afghanistan or a new Somalia.”

In another sign of lawlessness in post-Gaddafi Libya, a car bomb exploded outside the Swedish consulate in Benghazi. No staff were injured.Sweden is one of the few countries to still have a mission in the city where the US ambassador was killed during an Islamist attack, a year ago.