The ruler of Libya, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, has deployed security forces throughout the country to quell further unrest in the country following the deaths of at least two dozen protesters in rallies across the country.
The US-based Human Rights Watch said that 24 Libyans died in demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday – however, other sources claim the number of fatalities is much higher. According to media reports, hospitals in cities where disturbances have occurred are besieged with the wounded.
The scale of demonstration is unprecedented in Libya, which has been ruled with an iron hand by Gadhafi since 1969, making him the Arab world’s longest-serving leader. As in the rest of the Arab world, Libyans are demanding democratic reforms and what was once unthinkable – the ouster of Gadhafi.
In the city of Benghazi, thousands of protesters marched in funeral processions to bury the victims of recent violence.
According to an opposition website, Libya Al-Youm, at least four people were killed in the eastern city of Al Bayda when snipers from the paramilitary internal security force shot anti-government demonstrators. Reportedly, Gadhafi has sent militia commando forces to various parts of Libya stamp out such demonstrations.
There are lawyers, judges, men and some women here, demanding the ouster of Gadhafi. Forty-two years of dictatorship are enough, a local Libyan was quoted as saying. We don't have tents yet but residents provided us with blankets and food. We learned from Tunisia and Egypt.
In an effort to appease some of the government’s opponents, Gadhafi’s regime has recently freed more than one-hundred Islamist prisoners and also doubled the wages of public workers.
Meanwhile, according to the state news agency Jana, pro-government rallies are being organized in the capitol Tripoli to counter the other protests and to express eternal unity with the brother leader of the revolution (a reference to Gadhafi).