The S&D Group today expressed their condolences to the families of those who were killed in the violence at the Benghazi compound of the Libya Shield forces on Saturday June 8th.
Véronique De Keyser, S&D Group vice-president, said:
It is now time for respect to be shown for the victims of these shootings and for calm to prevail while the Libyan public prosecutor and ministry for the interior conduct a full investigation into these deaths. Those found to be responsible for the killings during these demonstrations must be brought to justice.
The people have repeatedly been calling for all militia groups to be disbanded – particularly in Benghazi – and for the formation and empowerment of a national army and police force. These calls must be heard by the Libyan government and I urge the authorities to take decisive action to stop armed groups acting outside the law, to fully reintegrate militia members back into society and, where appropriate, to absorb them into the regular armed forces and police.
Ana Gomes, the European Parliament's standing rapporteur on Libya and co-ordinator of the foreign affairs committee, said:
The Libyan Shield brigade is officially recognised as a security force under the auspices of the Libyan government and they have been crucial in maintaining security nationwide. However, it is abhorrent that armed men who claim to be working to protect Libya and the Libyan people would open fire on a large group of protestors. There must be contingency measures in place to deal with demonstrations that threaten to become violent. For this reason, I urge the Libyan authorities and their partners to implement non-lethal means of containing potentially violent demonstrations.
The EU must now send a strong, united message to encourage the Libyan government to stabilise the situation so that there will be no escalation and no more deaths.