Cycle of Suppression Rises in
Sunday 20 February 2011
Beirut, Lebanon - Libyan security forces moved against protesters Saturday in Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city and the epicenter of the most serious challenge to four decades of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule, opposition leaders and residents said. The death toll rose to at least 104 people, most of them in
The events appeared to mark a decisive turn in four days of protests that have shaken
The scope of the crackdown was almost impossible to verify in an isolated country that remains largely off limits to foreign journalists and, as part of the government’s efforts to squelch the protests, has been periodically cut off from the Internet. But doctors reached by Al Jazeera, an Arabic satellite channel, said dozens and perhaps hundreds were killed and wounded in the fighting, which persisted into the night. And a
“It is too late for dialogue now,” said a
“We don’t trust the regime anymore,” he said in a phone interview.
The government response in
A day of antigovernment marches in
The crackdown in
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Earlier in the day, thousands had returned to the courthouse in
Opposition Web sites reported that security forces later fired on some of the mourners. One site, Al Manara, said snipers fired from an army base that sits on the route to the cemetery, and a video posted on a Facebook page that has compiled images from the protests showed a march coming under fire, with at least one man shot in the head. Doctors have said that most of the dead have suffered gunshots.
“It seems that security forces in Libya do not feel there are limits on how far they can go in suppressing protests,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Cairo who has been in contact with residents and doctors in Benghazi.
The government has viewed the situation in
One of the region’s wealthier countries,
But political grievances in places like
“They’re not going to go back to their homes,” said Issa Abed al-Majid Mansour, an exiled opposition leader in
The Libyan crackdown comes amid one of the most tumultuous moments in the Arab world in recent memory, with two longtime leaders falling in as many months and a series of Arab states facing defiant calls for change.
In the Kurdistan region of northern
About 1,000 protesters demanding Mr. Saleh’s ouster in
The military government in
Reporting was contributed by Mona El-Naggar and David D. Kirkpatrick from Cairo, Nada Bakri from Beirut, Adam Nossiter from Algiers, Laura Kasinof from Sana, Yemen, Jack Healy from Baghdad, Thomas Fuller from Tunis and John Markoff from San Francisco.
This article "Cycle of Supression Rises in Libya and Elsewhere" originally appeared at The New York Times.
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