Saturday, February 19, 2011

Libya protests: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi turns helicopter gunships on own people

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi\'s regime turned helicopter gunships and snipers on protesters killing up to 19 people yesterday as rare anti-government demonstrations were last night reported to have reached Tripoli, the capital.

Pro-government supporters chant slogans during a demonstration in Tripoli Photo: REUTERS By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent 4:45PM GMT 17 Feb 2011

The eccentric dictator was the focus of \"Day of Rage\" protests in at least five cities, an unprecedented challenge to his 42-year old \"Green Revolution\".

Varied reports said that Libyan security forces killed demonstrators in Benghazi, al-Baida, Ar Rajban, Zintan and a Tripoli suburb.

Human Rights Solidarity, a campaign group, said that snipers on rooftops in Al-Baida – a city of 210,000 inhabitants – had killed 13 protesters and wounded dozens of others. Police stations in the town were set on fire as protesters burned posters of Col Gaddafi.

Other opposition websites said that six people had been killed in Benghazi after clashes broke out at the funerals of two people killed the day before. Hospitals in the second city were reported to have received scores of injured.

Among the chants recorded was: \"Libya is Free and the Colonel can leave.

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