Libya braces for protests, funerals of killed protesters
Libya is bracing for more violent protests against leader Moamer Gaddafi to begin after Friday prayers, while opposition protesters prepare to hold funerals for those killed in the public unrest, dpa reported.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said that at least 24 protesters died when police cracked down on peaceful demonstrations across the country.
Opposition groups, however, estimated that 45 people were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces on Thursday, during what opposition organizers had billed as a "Day of Anger."
The Quryna newspaper, which has close ties to Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, reported that seven people were killed in the eastern city of Benghazi, after police used live ammunition against protesters.
Another one of Gaddafi's sons, al-Saadi, is to be sent to that city to help implement an "unprecedented development plan," the Al- Watan newspaper reported on Friday.
Videos posted online appeared to show the bodies of several young men in different locations, and hundreds of demonstrators tearing down a monument in honour of Gaddafi's Green Book in the eastern coastal town of Tobruk.
In the Green Book, first published in 1975, Gaddafi outlines his philosophy of direct democracy through popular committees. Critics say that he actually uses those committees for political repression.
The opposition is now hoping to put an end to Gaddafi's 41 years in power, calling for further demonstrations on Friday.
Coverage of the unrest in the Libyan media so far has shown pro- government demonstrators taking to the streets to proclaim their support for the country's leaders.
State television showed Gaddafi waving to the cheering crowds while sitting inside his car, which was driving slowly through hundreds of people carrying his portraits.
Wearing a white suit, Gaddafi sat on the top of his car afterwards and started to shake hands with the crowd.