Human Rights Voices

While the UN devotes its human rights operations to the demonization of the democratic state of Israel above all others and condemns the United States more often than the vast majority of non-democracies around the world, the voices of real victims around the world must be heard.

Libya, February 22, 2011

Tripoli streets ”lined with dead”

Original source


The streets of Libya's capital are littered with the bodies of scores of protesters shot dead by security forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, an opposition leader has said.

Mohammed Ali of the Libyan Salvation Front said Tripoli's inhabitants are hiding at home after the killings and warnings by forces loyal to Mr Gaddafi that anyone found outside would be shot.

Mr Ali said Mr Gaddafi's forces shot at ambulances and some protesters were left bleeding to death.

Deep rifts have opened in Mr Gaddafi's regime, with Libyan government officials at home and abroad resigning, air force pilots defecting and a bloody crackdown on protest in the capital of Tripoli, where cars and buildings were burned.

World leaders expressed outrage at the "vicious forms of repression" used against the demonstrators. The longest serving Arab leader appeared briefly on TV to dispel rumours that he had fled.

Sitting in a car in front of what appeared to be his residence and holding an umbrella out of the passenger side door, he told an interviewer that he had wanted to go to the capital's Green Square to talk to his supporters, but the rain stopped him.

"I am here to show that I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Don't believe those misleading dog stations," Mr Gaddafi said, referring to the media reports that he had left the country. The video clip and comments lasted less than a minute - unusual for the leader, who is known for rambling speeches that often last hours.

Pro-Gaddafi militia drove through Tripoli with loudspeakers and told people not to leave their homes, witnesses said, as security forces sought to keep the unrest that swept eastern parts of the country - leaving the second-largest city of Benghazi in protesters' control - from overwhelming the capital of two million people.

Mr Gaddafi's security forces have unleashed the bloodiest crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, which toppled leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. At least 233 people have been killed so far, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Meanwhile, British Airways has cancelled its return flight to Tripoli on Tuesday due to the unrest. The airline, which operates a daily service to the Libyan capital from Heathrow airport, said it would make a decision on Wednesday's flight later. UK carrier bmi also axed its Tuesday return flight to Tripoli.