The streets of the city would be in the hands of tens of thousands of opponents of the Gaddafi regime. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered Sunday in Benghazi, Libya's second city, to bring in earth demonstrators killed by security forces, witnesses said. The violence on Saturday night to Sunday brought to 173 the number of people killed in four days of fighting, centered on Benghazi and nearby cities, according to a report prepared by the advocacy organization Human Rights Rights Watch (HRW), headquartered in New York.
"One hundred thousand demonstrators currently visit the cemetery for the funerals of dozens of martyrs. We fear a massacre because the road leading to the cemetery is near the barracks of the security forces," said an inhabitant of the capital of Cyrenaica. "We will not give up until the plan will not be dropped. We urge the UN to intervene immediately to stop this massacre," said the man. Another witness reported that hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children, gathered to pray at 60 bodies, exposed near a court in the north of Benghazi, which has 700,000 inhabitants. "A massacre was committed here last night," one resident said Sunday on condition of anonymity. Security forces have used heavy weapons and, he added, "number of soldiers and policemen moved into the camp of protesters."
Security forces entrenched
Conflicting reports of the situation were given by witnesses, but it seems that the streets of Benghazi are under the control of protesters and the security forces are entrenched in a complex called the "Command Centre", of where they fired on the crowd. A tribal chief who requested anonymity, also suggested that security forces were confined to the command center. "There is no more presence of the authorities in the city, security forces have retreated to their barracks and the town is in a state of civil rebellion," he said.
According to an Italian witness this in Benghazi, quoted by Italian news agency Ansa, the situation "is completely out of control." "All government and institutional buildings and a bank were burned and thugs vandalize and destroy everything. There is nobody in the streets, not even the police," he told the Italian. According to British newspaper The Independent, two hundred people were killed in Benghazi, a city traditionally rebellious, during the repression of the protest movement. The Libyan authorities have not issued any stock and have made no official statement on the unrest.
The bloody suppression of popular protest of the Gaddafi regime, in power since September 1969 has prompted some fifty Muslim clerics to issue a call that urges members of the security forces, as Muslims, to stop the massacre. "This is an urgent call of religious leaders, intellectuals, tribal leaders in Tripoli, Bani Walid, of Zintan of Jadu, to Msalata of Misrata of Zawiah and other towns and villages of the Western countries, "it said. "We call on every Muslim, which is within the regime or helping in any way whatsoever, to recognize that the killing of innocent human beings is forbidden by our Creator and His Prophet (...). Do not kill your brothers and sisters. Stop the killing now. "
It is difficult to confirm from independent sources testimonies on the situation in Benghazi. Foreign journalists are not allowed to visit Libya since the violence began and reporters can not go to Libya at Benghazi. The telephone lines are frequently cut and Internet access is blocked by a U.S. surveillance network. "Gaddafi will see a hard to make concessions to survive. I think the attitude of the Libyan regime, it's all or nothing," said Sir Richard Dalton, former British ambassaeur Libya.
Some observers have indicated, however, there could be negotiations between the regime of Gadhafi and tribal leaders from the East. A text message sent Saturday to subscribers of mobile phones in Libya seemed to be going towards some reconciliation. "All citizens and youth of Benghazi, civilians and police officers killed are all son of our country. That's enough now, stop the bloodshed!", We read in the SMS group. Outside Benghazi, located 1,000 km east of Tripoli, the rest of Libya seems relatively calm.
The Libyan news agency Jana, however, evokes acts of vandalism and arson in some cities and attributed to "a foreign network that seeks to provoke clashes and chaos to destabilize Libya. In Tripoli, several thousand supporters of the plan gathered at the Green Square, near the medina, in the early hours of Sunday morning. "God, Libya and Muammar!" They chanted, or: "Muammar is the pioneer of Arab nationalism!" Saturday already, several hundred people gathered on the square, brandishing portraits of Gadhafi and chanting slogans in favor of the plan. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, called on Sunday the international community to condemn the crackdown on protests in Libya.