See also:
» 29.01.2013 - Libya peace very fragile, warns UN
» 31.03.2011 - Libya's Foreign Minister defects
» 24.03.2011 - How cyber-activism lent savvy to North African protests
» 18.03.2011 - Ten nations ready to attack Ghaddafi regime
» 18.03.2011 - Africa defies AU chief's support for Ghaddafi
» 18.03.2011 - France: We can start bombing Libya tonight
» 17.03.2011 - Libya rebels shoot down fighter jets
» 15.03.2011 - Ghaddafi thanks Germany, Russia and China

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Politics | Human rights

"Urban war" spreads in Libya cities

Protesters in Benghazi, Libya, fleeing gunshots

© Anonymous/afrol News
afrol News, 20 February
- As protesters are massacred by Muammar Ghaddafi's security forces, killing almost 200, Libyans are reporting of "urban warfare." Fighting has now also spread to Tripoli, the capital.

At least 174 deaths have been confirmed by local hospitals, according to the latest update from the US-group Human Rights Watch (HRW). Hospital sources confirm that live ammunition, including large calibres, is being used against the protesters, with some arriving with gunshot wounds of up to 4 centimetres in diameter.

Protesters on the ground in Libya - only able to communicate via telephone as the internet is blocked - confirm this information.

A protester in Benghazi - Libya's second city and the centre of unrest - over the telephone reports of an estimated 900 persons being killed or seriously wounded by live ammunition in that city only. "The wounded are in critical condition," he adds. Hospitals are running out of blood.

Reports from Benghazi agree that the city is a war zone. The "revolutionary guards" have installed themselves in a fortress-like building in the city centre, shouting towards the areas of protests. Helicopters have been used to shoot at protesters, and there are reports of "cars with four people inside with guns, passing through the street and shooting people."

Even more preoccupying, there are increasingly coming reports of the use of African mercenary troops against the protesters in Benghazi.

Benghazi residents speak of "massacres" going on and a "battle" being fought right now. "The youth here in Benghazi don't want to stop, because if they stop, that's it, Benghazi is over, finished. So they don't want to stop. They are all in the streets," a resident reports this afternoon.

In Al-Baida, another centre of unrest close to Benghazi, there have been similar reports of urban warfare between protesting youths and the Ghaddafi regime, with live ammunition being used ag

Protesters in Benghazi, Libya, rescuing injured child

© Anonymous/afrol News
ainst protesters. The protest movement remains strongest in this, eastern part of Libya.

New of the day is that protests have spread to the capital, Tripoli, which so far had been totally under the regime's control. Also today, Ghaddafi supporters have occupied the Green Square in central Tripoli, hindering pro-democracy protesters to take this central position.

But protesting and fighting has broken out in numerous Tripoli suburbs. The capital's Fashloom area was the first centre of protests, but the regime soon sent revolutionary guards, police and snipers to the neighbourhood, using live munitions and knives, effectively dispersing crowds.

But as soon as the crowds were dispersed in Fashloom, other protesting crowds popped up spontaneously around the city. "Within minutes, the revolutionary committee people were upon them," a protester reports from Tripoli, saying plain-cloth agents suddenly draw knives in the middle of the crowds, stabbing protesters. Several have been killed; many more wounded.

"I swear to God, this is urban war," the Tripoli protester says.

The protests in Benghazi, Tripoli and many other Libyan towns are going on, moving from one location to another. During the day, it has indeed intensified. Protesters know: if they quit now, the war is lost.

Both sides are bound to escalate the fighting. In Benghazi, latest reports indicate the protesting youths are using stones and "jalateena" - small grenades used to catch fish - to defend themselves. At the same time, the regime is reported to send more troops to the city.

The urban war in Libya, it seems, has only started. Human Rights Watch meanwhile warns of a disaster - a human rights disaster - unfolding in the country.

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