Friday, February 18, 2011
At least 24 dead in widespread protests during Libyan ´Day of Rage´
News about what exactly happened in Libya after opponents of the regime of ´brother colonel´ Muammar Qadhafy on Thursday held a ´Day of Rage´are still sketchy, but clear enough to give an impression of widespread unrest and severe repression by the government. The human rights group Human Rights Watch in New York said that according to its sources inside the country, Libyan security forces had killed at least 24 people in crackdowns on protests on Wednesday and Thursday.
The number of victims, however, could well be higher than that. From Benghazi, the second city of the country, alone it was reported that some 20 people got killed. Soldiers were deployed on the streets of Benghazi on Friday after thousands of people took to the streets.An eyewitness in the city, who was reached by Al Jazeera, said that he alsone saw six unarmed protesters shot dead by police, and that the government had released 30 people from jail, paying and arming them to fight people in the street.
Huge protests also took place in the city of Al Baida and also here eople got killed. Opposition website Libya Al-Youm said that here four protesters were killed by snipers from the Internal Security Forces. Others, among them a Libyan human rights group based abroad, reported that the unrest in al-Baida had cost as many as 13 lives. Mohammed Ali Abdellah, deputy leader of the exiled National Front for the Salvation of Libya, said that hospitals in al-Baida were experiencing a shortage of medical supplies, saying the government had refused to provide them to treat an increasing number of protesters.
Clashes also broke out in the city of Zentan, southwest of the capital, in which a number of government buildings were torched. Fathi al-Warfali, a Swiss-based activist and head of the Libyan Committee for Truth and Justice, said two more people were killed in Zentan on Thursday ,while one protester was killed in Rijban, a town about 120km southwest of Tripoli.
In the capital Tripoli several hundred supporters of Gaddafi held a counter demonstation. They were joined by Gaddafi himself.