Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Libyan Security Takes on Protesters with a Heavy Hand

Human Rights Watch reports that security forces in Libya killed 24 protesters Thursday during anti-government demonstrations. Inspired by demonstrations and uprisings in other nations, opponents of Muammar al-Gaddafi, Libyan leader since 1969, called for demonstrators to continue the protests and named Thursday a “Day of Rage.”

Deadly protests continue to rock Libya. According to Human Rights Watch, Libyan security forces have killed 24 protesters at anti-government demonstrations during the past few days, and many others have been wounded in the spreading unrest in the North African country.

The organization said in a statement that hundreds of peaceful demonstrators had taken to the streets of the Libyan cities of Baida, Benghazi, Zenten, Derna, and Ajdabiya on Thursday, the the day opposition activists had called for an anti-government “Day of Rage” on social networking sites. The human rights group, quoting several witnesses, said Libyan security forces shot and killed protesters to disperse the crowds.

Los Angeles Times

BBC reports that funerals for the fallen protesters are to be held today.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says violent confrontations are reported to have spread to five Libyan cities in demonstrations so far, but not yet to Tripoli, the capital, in any large numbers.

Demonstrators opposed to the regime of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi gather in Hyde Park on February 17, 2011 in London, England Protests have also taken place in the UK

Our correspondent says the reports reflect an extremely tough government response, including the use of gunfire and even denying supplies to hospitals.

Funerals of some of those killed are expected to be held on Friday in Benghazi and al-Bayda, which correspondents say could spur more protests.

Activists set up camps in al-Bayda after Thursday’s “Day of Rage” protest against the government, witnesses said.


From CBS:

Libya’s state news agency, meanwhile, said long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi had toured the capital Tripoli, trying to rally loyalists amid the widening anti-government protests.

More demonstrations were expected Friday, and witnesses said protesters camped out in a central area of the eastern port city in Benghazi.


The video below shows shots being fired at protesters.

Defying threats of reprisals in several cities, thousands of Libyan protesters mounted one of the sharpest challenges to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s 40-year rule in a “Day of Rage” on Thursday modeled on the uprisings coursing through the region that have had toppled the authoritarian regimes of Tunisia and Egypt.

Despite Libya’s heavy hand in controlling security and stifling dissent, Human Rights Watch said protests were reported in the capital, Tripoli; Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city; and at three other places. News reports said the protests continued into early Friday in Benghazi.

The report of 24 dead from Human Rights Watch, based on what it said were accounts by “multiple witnesses” was one of the highest so far. The accounts were muted by Libya’s strict media controls, which made independent verification difficult. Unlike in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, the authorities, like those in Iran during protests last Monday, have largely prevented conventional television coverage and the only images to emerge have been on social networking sites. On the ground, a fog of smoke, tear gas and fresh unease descended over cities throughout the region, with demonstrations and rolling street battles lurching in violent new directions as governments fought to blunt their momentum and reassert control of the streets. States imposed curfews and ordered people to stay home, and those who defied the orders risked gunfire or beatings at the hands of security forces, private guards or pro-government crowds.

New York Times

Sorry for the drive-by diary, but I don’t have much time this morning. My apologies for any errors (editors please feel free to fix them or add updates), but I’m in quite a rush.

The above is focused on Libya, but consider this a place to discuss protests/demonstrations/uprisings wherever you may find them.

What say you, Moose?


  1. sricki

    The severity of a Libyan crackdown on a so-called “Day of Rage” began to emerge Friday when a human rights advocacy group said 24 people had been killed by gunfire and news reports said further clashes with security were feared at the funerals for the dead.

    That apprehension also seized Bahrain where five people died in a brutal assault on a democracy camp in the capital, Manama on Thursday. The violence has pitted a Sunni minority government against a Shiite majority in the strategic island state that is home to the American Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

    Thousands of Shiites gathered at a mosque in the windswept village of Sitra, south of Manama, on Friday for the funerals of two of the dead, chanting “The people want the fall of the government” before noon prayers.

    New York Times

  2. kill as many citizens as necessary.

    Nothing matters more to a dictator than personal comfort (their own). Killing a lot of people may mean you can keep your palace, so let the bullets fly.


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