Hundreds Killed as Libyan Security Forces Use Live Ammunition & Aircraft Against Protesters
by Brett Wilkins
Hundreds of Libyan anti-government protesters have been killed by state security forces loyal to dictator Muammar Gaddafi as violence in the North African country escalated today. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar’s son and heir apparent took to the airwaves and promised that “rivers of blood would flow” and that there would be “thousands” of deaths if the protests aimed at toppling the Gaddafi regime did not stop.
Libyan security forces seem all too willing to enforce Gaddafi’s threats. In addition to firing on demonstrators with live ammunition, CNN also reports that “aviation assets” have been deployed against peaceful protesters. Reuters reports that two Libyan pilots ordered to bomb civilians have flown their jets to the nearby island nation of Malta and defected.
Despite the regime’s brutality, its promise of worse to come and its vow to fight to the “last man standing,” there are signs that Gaddafi’s days in Libya are numbered. Protesters now control Benghazi, the country’s second largest city. Some pro-government media outlets have turned against the regime. A government official has come out and harshly criticized Gaddafi. According to CNN, “Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters Monday that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has declared war on the Libyan people and is committing genocide.” There are even rumors that Muammar Gaddafi may have already fled the country to seek asylum in Venezuela, although both Libya and Venezuela deny this.
Information on the Libyan revolt is harder to ascertain than in the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt because of the more restrictive nature of the Gaddafi dictatorship. But what does seem clear is that instead of dying down, the Libyan revolution is growing larger and stronger by the day. The state’s threats to use more deadly violence don’t seem to be working; if anything, they’re bringing more brave Libyans into the streets. They’re demanding that Gaddafi step down. He’s oppressed them since 1969, making him the world’s longest-serving ruler. Libyans are long overdue for a change.
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