2011/02/23

Despot's Defiance _Bloodbath in Tripoli as tyrant Gaddafi threatens to 'cleanse' country By Kim Sengupta, Diplomatic Correspondent and David Usborne

 "They were firing at any living thing," said one resident. "Bodies are in the streets; those injured and now bleeding cannot find a hospital or an ambulance to rescue them. Nobody is allowed to get in and if anybody gets in, [they] will 
be shot to death."


The witness, who refused to be identified for fear of retribution, said he came upon a group of militiamen as he tried to escape the violence. "The Libyans among them warned me to leave and showed me bodies of the dead," he said. "They told me, 'We were given orders to shoot anybody who moves in the place'."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/in-libya-a-despots-defiance-2222903.html


Armed Gaddafi loyalists, including some apparently from sub-Saharan Africa, were reported to have set up roadblocks and opened fire from rooftops. Another protester described ruthless violence in Green Square. "Men wearing civilian clothing in the square were shooting at us," he told Human Rights Watch. "I saw guys taking off their shirts and exposing their chests to the snipers. I have never seen anything like it. I was very ashamed to hide under a tree but I am human."
The protests came in response to Colonel Gaddafi's previous broadcast, which infuriated the opposition – although many people did not hear his speech because of power cuts. One who did, a 22-year-old student from Tripoli named Mina

Abdullah, said: "It was an insult. He did not say sorry for the killings and all the terrible things his men have been doing. We had really hoped he had gone away, but he is still here and all the troubles will continue and there will be no change."
As violence spread, a mass exodus got underway. Big oil multinationals, aid organisations and foreign governments activated emergency airlifts,

while thousands of people gathered at the Tunisian and Egyptian borders. Reports from 

within Libya suggested that the regime had lost its grip on the east of the country.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council condemned the crackdown on anti-government protesters and demanded an immediate end to the violence.
A press statement agreed by all 15 council members expressed "grave concern" at the situation in Libya and condemned the violence and use of force against civilians. Council members called for immediate access for international human rights monitors. It also underlined the need for the government to respect the rights to peaceful assembly, free expression and press freedom.
Libya's deputy UN ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi has called for Colonel Gaddafi to step down and called its attacks on peaceful protesters "genocide". He said the council statement was "not strong enough" but was "a good step to stopping the bloodshed". He said he had received information that Colonel Gaddafi's collaborators have started "attacking people in all the cities in western Libya".



Martin Chulov in Benghazi

Inside Libya's first free city: jubilation fails to hide deep wounds

The first foreign journalist to reach Benghazi sees how Muammar Gaddafi's bid to cling to power has failed



At the heart of the city where he launched his rise to power, Muammar Gaddafi's indignity is now complete. In little more than three days of rampage, the rebels in Libya's second city have done their best to wind the clock back 42 years – to life before the dictator they loathe.

Benghazi has fallen and Gaddafi's bid to cling on to power, whatever the cost, has crumbled with it. There is barely a trace of him now, except for obscene graffiti that mocks him on the dust-strewn walls where his portraits used to hang.

Residents who would not have dared to approach the town's main military base without an invitation were doing victory laps around it in their cars. Every barrack block inside had been torched and looted. The stage where Gaddafi would address the masses on the rare occasions that he came here had collapsed. His house across the road had been ransacked and there wasn't a loyalist soldier inside.

"He is gone. A dragon has been slain," cried Ahmed Al-Fatuuir outside the secret police headquarters. "Now he has to explain where all the bodies are."

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http://english.aljazeera.net/
Photo by Reuters
As the uprising in Libya enters its tenth day, we keep you updated on the developing situation from our headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/


[Map of Libya. Image from wordtravels.com]