protests turned violent across Libya, with opposition activists
saying dozens were shot dead during funerals and marches for those
killed in anti-government demonstrations earlier this week.
The protests against the rule of Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi had
spread to the capital Tripoli by Friday night. Witnesses reported
people taking to the streets in a number of western neighbourhoods.
Sources from northeastern city of Benghazi told DPA that 25
protesters were killed there Friday. There was no independent or
Residents of Benghazi also reported that police there had been
replaced with military troops.
Two more protesters were shot dead in the northern city of Qubah,
the opposition National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL)
Emboldened by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, thousands of
Libyans are calling for the ouster of Gaddafi, who has been in
power for 41 years.
"We do not want Gaddafi's compromises and his son's bribes. We
want them out. We are demonstrating peacefully," one Libyan
activist wrote on the social-networking site Twitter, which has
emerged as one of the rallying tools of all the Middle East
The opposition group NFSL said the al-Jdaida prison in Tajoora,
also on the north coast, was burnt and prisoners had been
released. It was not immediately clear how the fire broke out.
There were also unconfirmed reports that prisoners in a jail in
Benghazi and in other northern cities had escaped, according to
While most of the clashes and unrest took place in the northeast
of the country, Libyan sources said the western part of the
country was quiet.
Opposition groups claimed that by Thursday night, 45 people were
killed, while the New York-based activist group Human Rights Watch
estimated that 24 people had died in clashes with security forces.
The Quryna newspaper, which has close ties to Gaddafi's son, Saif
al-Islam, reported that 14 people were killed in Benghazi
Thursday, after police used live ammunition against protesters
during several days of protests.
Meanwhile, the Libyan opposition accused authorities of providing
more arms to the elite army brigade Khamees Gaddafi, named after
one of the sons of the Libyan leader.
The opposition website Libya Al-Youm said that the brigade had
attacked protesters in the north, a move it alleged had left up to
30 people dead.
Earlier reports had said that mercenaries from other African
countries, including Chad, were also being recruited to attack
Libya Al-Youm said that helicopters landed briefly to provide the
brigade with weapons in the coastal cities of Bayda and Shahhat.
Three of its soldiers were killed in the clashes, according to the
Human Rights Watch also accused Libyan authorities of arming
people to attack protesters and sending out text messages that
call upon "nationalist youths" to go out and "defend national
"Using security forces and armed thugs to deny people the right to
express their opposition to the government increasingly looks
destined to fail," the group noted.
State television, meanwhile, broadcast a Muslim preacher warning
people against chaos and blaming ongoing pro-democracy protests in
the country on Israeli interference.
"Adhere to the security of your country," the preacher said in the
Friday sermon, warning Libyans to "beware of Zionist conspiracy
theories" against their country.
For his part, Gaddafi attended a pro-government rally in the
capital Tripoli, state television reported.
One of his sons, al-Saadi - who has played football for several
Italian clubs - is now to be sent to Benghazi to help implement an
"unprecedented development plan", the Al-Watan newspaper reported