The Bloodbath: Dozens have been reported dead after more violence in the Libyan capital as angry protests against embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year rule escalate across the country.
At least 61 people were killed in clashes in Tripoli on Monday, witnesses told Al Jazeera. The protests appeared to be gathering momentum, with demonstrators saying they had taken control of several key towns in the country, including the city of Benghazi.
Another huge march under way in Tripoli on Monday afternoon was reportedly under attack by security forces using military planes and live ammunition to fire on protesters, sources told Al Jazeera.
Ahmed Elgazir, a human rights researcher at the Libyan News Centre (LNC) also told Al Jazeera that security forces were “massacring” protesters in Tripoli.
Elgazir said the LNC, based in Geneva, Switzerland, received a call for help from a woman “witnessing the massacre in progress who called on a satellite phone”.
Libyan authorities have cut all landline and wireless communication in the country, making it impossible to verify the information.
Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency reported British foreign secretary, William Hague, saying he had seen some information to suggest Gaddafi had fled Libya on Monday.
However, government officials in Venezuela have denied these reports, Al Jazeera’s Dima Khatib reported from Caracas. The Libyan deputy foreign minister also denied that Gaddafi had fled.
News of the spreading violence in Libya came as a privately run local newspaper reported that the country’s justice minister had resigned over the deadly force used against protesters.
Ahmad Jibreel, a Libyan diplomat, spoke to Al Jazeera on Monday and confirmed that the justice minister had sided with the protesters.
Earlier, The Triumph of the Fight for Justice:
MANAMA, BAHRAIN Young men jubilantly wave national flags and white banners with “peace” written in Arabic and English. Small children bearing roses know nothing of the politics, but they approach Pearl monument with glee, holding hands with proud parents.
Strangers greet each other as if at a party, and vehicles passing nearby honk as if the country has just won a football match against the national rival.
Fear is unexpectedly gone from the air. Five hundred men conduct the last Shia prayer of the day, just down the main boulevard, following a brief tear gas confrontation with police hours earlier.
“I’m ecstatic. This is how Bahraini people are. We fall and then we stand up again,” Fatema Al Shaaban, a 25-year-old lawyer, said. “We are happy to come back here, and we are even more sure of our demands now.”
Saturday was the day when Bahrain’s anti-government protesters retook the main square in the small island nation’s capital city.
First published: 2011-02-20 07:02 AM