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Libya: Anti-Gaddafi protests spread to Tripoli

BBC News

February 20, 2011

Anti-government protests have broken out in the Libyan capital Tripoli for the first time amid recent unrest in the country.

Witnesses say the authorities have used live ammunition and tear gas in response. Gunfire can be heard across the city.

There are unconfirmed reports of clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in central Green Square.

Libya has been hit by days of unrest.

Most of it has occurred in the east, where opposition to Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is strongest.

Reports from the eastern city of Benghazi say more than 200 people have died there after the Libyan military used heavy weapons against protesters.

Multiple flashpoints

In Tripoli, protests were reported in four areas of the city late on Sunday.

In the Gourghi area, eyewitness said tear gas and live ammunition were used against anti-government protesters. Tear gas was said to have filled the entire neighbourhood, with those sitting outside their homes forced to to go inside.

Correspondents say the spreading of unrest to Tripoli is a significant blow to Col Gaddafi's attempt to contain the protests to the east.

Protesters have been demanding an end to Col Gaddafi's four decades in power, after the success of similar rallies in Egypt and Tunisia.

The brutal suppression of protests in Benghazi has been condemned by the US, UK and other Western nations.

Verifying information from Libya has been difficult amid a government clampdown on the internet and media communications.





:: Article nr. 75185 sent on 20-feb-2011 22:57 ECT

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Link: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12520366



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