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Libya protests death toll close to 300
Feb 20, 2011
WARNING: Extremely Graphic Content
Latest figures show the death toll from clashes in Libya’s massive popular uprising against long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi is nearing 300.
Reports have put the number of people killed in the country’s second largest city, Benghazi at more than 200 over the past days.
Hospital officials, however, estimate that the countrywide death toll may be close to 300, with at least 20 protesters killed overnight.
According to witnesses, snipers fired on protestors while security forces opened up with heavy weapons.
Doctors in Benghazi say most of those injured sustained gunshot wounds.
The Libyan government is opening fire from helicopters to crack down on pro-democracy protesters as nationwide protests continue to shake the foundation of the Gaddafi regime.
Protesters have been demanding the ouster of the Libyan leader, who has been in power for over 40 years.
Gaddafi’s Son: “We will keep fighting [protesters] until the last man standing”
February 21, 2011
Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi will fight a popular revolt to “the last man standing,” one of his sons said on Monday as people in the capital joined protests for the first time after days of violent unrest in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Anti-government protesters rallied in Tripoli’s streets, tribal leaders spoke out against Gaddafi, and army units defected to the opposition as oil exporter Libya endured one of the bloodiest revolts to convulse the Arab world.
Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on national television in an attempt to both threaten and calm people, saying the army would enforce security at any price.
“Our spirits are high and the leader Muammar Gaddafi is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are behind him as is the Libyan army,” he said.
“We will keep fighting until the last man standing, even to the last woman standing…We will not leave Libya to the Italians or the Turks.”
Wagging a finger at the camera, he blamed Libyan exiles for fomenting the violence. But he also promised dialogue on reforms and wage rises.
The cajoling may not be enough to douse the anger unleashed after four decades of rule by Gaddafi — mirroring events in Egypt where a popular revolt overthrew the seemingly impregnable President Hosni Mubarak 10 days ago.
In the coastal city of Benghazi protesters appeared to be largely in control after forcing troops and police to retreat to a compound. Government buildings were set ablaze and ransacked.
In the first sign of serious unrest in the capital, thousands of protesters clashed with Gaddafi supporters. Gunfire rang out in the night and police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, some of whom threw stones at Gaddafi billboards.
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