>Libyans bury dead after clashes

>Funerals for those killed, expected in both Benghazi and Al Bayda, could act as a catalyst for more protests.

Last Modified: 18 Feb 2011 09:14 GMT
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Crowds have taken to the streets in Libya demanding more representation and the overthrow of Gaddafi

Libya is set for renewed displays of public anger towards their governments, as protesters bury people killed in recent clashes.

Thousands of anti-government protesters seeking to oust longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi have taken to the streets of Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, a day after “day of rage” demonstrations led to fatal skirmishes with the security forces.

Funerals for those killed, expected in both Benghazi and Al Bayda later on Friday, could act as a catalyst for more protests.

Tight controls on media and communications in Libya made it difficult to assess the extent of the violence, but on Friday unverified reports on social network sites said up to 50 people had died.

Pro-government supporters also were out on the streets early on Friday, according to the Libyan state television, which purported to transmit images labelled “live” that showed men chanting slogans in support of Gaddafi.

The pro-Gaddafi crowd was seen singing as it surrounded his limousine as it crept along a road in the capital, Tripoli, packed with people carrying his portrait.

Deadly clashes broke out in several towns on Thursday after the opposition called for protests in a rare show of defiance inspired by uprisings in other Arab states and the toppling of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The worst clashes appeared to have taken place in the eastern Cyrenaica region centred on Benghazi, where support for Gaddafi has historically been weaker than in other parts of the country.

Libya’s Quryna newspaper reported the regional security chief had been removed from his post over the deaths of protesters in Al Bayda.

Political analysts say Libya oil wealth should give the government the capacity to smooth over social problems and
reduce the risk of an Egypt-style revolt.

Gaddafi’s opponents say they want political freedoms, respect for human rights and an end to corruption.

Gaddafi’s government proposed the doubling of government employees’ salaries and released 110 suspected anti-government figures who oppose him – tactics similar to those adopted by other Arab regimes facing recent mass protests.

Gaddafi also has been meeting with tribal leaders to solicit their support

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