It’s a big, big massacre, says Libyan

Sunday, February 20, 2011

CAIRO/TRIPOLI - “It’s a big, big massacre”, said a Libyan businessman who resides in the city of Benghazi as he recalled the brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters by security forces that has left several dead.

Ahmed told Al Jazeera that hospitals were running out of blood as they were overwhelmed with the number of the injured.

“It’s a big, big massacre. We’ve never heard of anything like this before. It’s horrible,” he was quoted as saying.

The deaths took place during a violent crackdown on demonstrators.

Thousands of Libyans, emboldened by successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, have been calling for the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years.

The numbers of dead — which ranges from 15 to 25 to 200 — appeared to be in addition to the 84 people confirmed dead by Friday by New York-based Human Rights Watch, which said its figure was based on phone interviews with hospital staff and witnesses, DPA reported.

Those who were killed Saturday were among those mourning the deaths of protesters during anti-government protests in the city during the past week, witnesses said.

Mariam, a doctor who spoke to Al Jazeera from a hospital in Benghazi, said: “It’s a massacre here. The military is shooting at all the protesters with live bullets, I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. The military forces are everywhere, even from the hospital I work, we are not safe. There was an 8-year-old boy who died the other day from a gunshot to the head - what did he do to deserve this?”

Ahmed, another Benghazi resident, said: “Right now, the situation is even worse than earlier today. Shooting is going until now. And at a nearby hospital, at least 150 people have been admitted, those injured and dead…the military is all over the place.”

Another doctor from Benghazi said his hospital was not “well-equipped” to handle the casualties.

“…These injuries come in waves. All are very serious injuries, involving the head, the chest and the abdomen. They are bullet injuries from high-velocity rifles.

“All are civilians aged from 13 to 35, no police or military injuries,” he was quoted as saying.

“Absolutely a shoot-to-kill policy.”

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