'Day of Rage' Continues in Libya
Organizers declare a "Day of Rage" in Libya, with plans for protests in several major cities demanding the ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Fourteen people have been shot to death in Libya during protests against Gaddafi, according to a report by the Libya Al-Youm opposition website and other sources.
Thursday had been declared a "Day of Rage" in the country and tension is rising there as thousands gathered in at least four major cities across the country demanding the resignation of the nation's dictator.
Demonstrations were reported in Beyida, in Zentan -- 120 kilometers south of the capital Tripoli -- and in the country's second-largest city Benghazi, with activists using the Facebook and Twitter social networking websites to organize the nationwide anti-government protests. Fourteen people were detained by Internal Security officers, including writers and protesters.
Protesters and Libyan government forces clashed Wednesday as the "Day of Rage" disturbances spread across the Middle East, pan-Arab satellite news network Al Jazeera reported. "People want the end of the regime," hundreds of demonstrators chanted as they torched police outposts.
A day earlier, dozens were injured in clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Benghazi, located in the eastern Cyrenaica region, as protesters kept up the pressure in an emulating of the upheavals that had toppled the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt. The director of the local Al-Jana hospital told the AFP news service that 38 people were treated for light injuries in Tuesday's protests, including 10 members of the security forces.
Ibrahim Jibreel, a member of the Libyan opposition based in Barcelona, told Al Jazeera, "We are urging the governments and diplomatic missions that are in Libya to act as observers, to document the abuses that are going to happen and we know that they are going to happen because this is a totalitarian, brutal regime."
Gaddafi, 68, has been in power since 1969. He is at present the Arab world's longest-serving leader. The eccentric Libyan leader has long been one of the region's more flamboyant figures; last September he upset many in Italy with a "convert to Islam" party he held in Rome at the Libyan cultural center not far from the Vatican. True reports of what occurs in the country are difficult to obtain, since the government maintains a tight control over the media.
Amnesty International expressed concern Thursday that the Libyan army would act in an aggressive manner against the protesters. The organization called on the government to allow quiet, peaceful protests to proceed without interference. A spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton similarly said, "We also call for calm and for all violence to be avoided."