Death toll hits 19 in Libya’s “Day of Rage”
The death toll in clashes between protesters and security forces in the Libyan cities of Benghazi and al-Baida on Thursday rose to 19 as Muammar Gaddafi ‘s regime sought to overshadow an opposition “Day of Anger” with its own rally in the capital Tripoli.
Meanwhile, violent clashes rocked the Libyan city of Zenten southwest of Tripoli on Thursday during which a police post and an office of the local revolutionary committee were torched, Quryna newspaper said on its website.
Separately, lawyers demonstrated in front of a courthouse in Benghazi — Libya’s second city after Tripoli — to demand a constitution for the country.
The Al-Youm and Al-Manarawebsites, monitored in Nicosia, earlier reported at least four people were killed in the city of Al-Baida, 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of Benghazi, on Wednesday.
Sites monitored in Cyprus and a Libyan human rights group based abroad reported earlier that the anti-Kadhafi protests in Al-Baida had cost as many as 13 lives. (Al Arabiya)
Libyans in US allege coercion
In an apparent effort to control the public narrative in the wake of rare protests that have spread throughout Libya, the country’s government is threatening to withdraw scholarship funding from citizens studying in the US unless they attend pro-government rallies in Washington this weekend, Al Jazeera has learned.
Several Libyans studying in the US said they and their peers have received phone calls this week from a man employed by the Libyan embassy instructing them to join rallies in the capital on Friday and Saturday. (Al Jazeera)
Libya cracks down on protesters after violent clashes in Benghazi
Hundreds of anti-government protesters clashed with police and government supporters in Libya’s second city yesterday as unrest spread across the Arab world.
Reports from the city of Benghazi said 38 people were injured in rioting after a human rights lawyer was arrested on Tuesday. Film footage captured screams and the sounds of gunfire as crowds scattered. Water cannon and teargas were used against an estimated 6,000 people. Some protesters armed with stones and petrol bombs had set fire to vehicles and fought with police in the city’s Shajara Square.
Opposition supporters accused the authorities of deliberately provoking trouble to spoil plans for a nationwide “day of rage” that had been called for. (The Guardian)
Syrians protest police beating in Damascus