10 protesters killed, says Libyan opposition (Second Lead)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CAIRO/TRIPOLI - At least 10 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces in Libya amid widespread demonstrations in the country Thursday, according to the opposition news website Libya Al-Youm.

Emboldened by the popular revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, protesters in Libya called for a “Day of Anger” and are demanding the ouster of leader Moamer Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years.

They have also called for more employment opportunities, reform and democracy.

Six protesters were shot dead by security forces in Benghazi, on the northern Mediterranean coast, the report said, but did not specify if the protesters were killed Thursday.

At least 38 people were injured in Benghazi when police clashed with hundreds of demonstrators late Tuesday.

Authorities have said they would not tolerate any public unrest. The Quryna newspaper, which is owned by Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, referred to the Benghazi protesters as “saboteurs” in earlier reports.

The protests in Benghazi were sparked by the arrest of activist and lawyer Fathi Turbil, who was reportedly freed earlier this week.

Libya Al-Youm also reported that large anti-government demonstrations were taking place in the north coast city of Darnah Thursday, a day after four people were killed in clashes in Bayda.

The independent news website Al-Watan reported that a security official in Bayda was sacked following the protesters’ deaths.

The opposition website reported that up to 4,000 people took to the streets in Bayda, Libya’s third largest city, after burying those killed the day before.

Security forces reportedly opened fire at the protesters when they marched towards the central police station in Bayda. Two people were seriously injured, said Libya Al-Youm.

There has been no official confirmation of the death toll - the state-owned Libyan Al Jamahirya television channel instead showed images of hundreds of pro-government supporters holding demonstrations.

Libyans on Twitter reported that internet in the country was unstable and broadcaster Al Jazeera, which has been covering the popular uprisings across the Middle East, was inaccessible via Libya’s satellite provider.

The group Enoughgaddafi said on Twitter that its website had been hacked and domain cancelled.

Anti-Gaddafi protests have also been planned, largely through Facebook, in front of Libyan embassies.

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