Eight killed in Libya, Bahrain in anti-gov't protests

Police use tear gas, rubber bullets on anti-government protesters in Manama; Libyan security forces reportedly shoot at opposition members.

February 17, 2011 11:32
1 minute read.
Protests in Bahrain

Bahrain protests 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


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A website opposing longtime Libyan dictator Mommar Gadhafi says four protesters in the city of Beyida have been killed by government forces.

Activists using Facebook and Twitter have called for nationwide anti-government demonstrations on Thursday.

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Riot police attack Bahrain protest camp; 2 dead
Iran opposition leader 'ready to pay any price' for change
Anti-government protests spread to Libya

So far, protests have been reported Wednesday and Thursday in Beyida and to the west in Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi.

Opposition website Libya Al-Youm says the protesters were slain by snipers from the Internal Security Forces. It's not clear when the protesters were killed.

The Libyan government maintains tight control over the media and the reports couldn't be independently confirmed.

Also on Thursday, at least 50 armored vehicles were seen in Bahraini capital city Manama's Pearl Square, Israel Radio reported. Only hours before, riot police fired tear gas and wielded clubs as they stormed the landmark square occupied by anti-government protesters, driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom.

The main opposition group Al Wefaq said at least four people were killed in the assault on Pearl Square, which was littered with flattened tents, trampled banners and broken glass. There was no official word on deaths or injuries, but hospitals treated dozens of people with serious gaping wounds, broken bones and respiratory problems from the tear gas.

Barbed wire was put up around Pearl Square and a message from the Interior Ministry declared the protest camp "illegal." The air still carried the smell of tear gas more than four hours after the assault.

The blow by authorities marked a dramatic shift in tactics. It appeared Bahrain's leaders had sought to rein in security forces after clashes Monday that left at least two people dead and brought sharp criticism from Western allies — including the US — which operates its main naval base in the Gulf from Bahrain.

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