The death toll in Libya has topped 100, according to US-based Human Rights Watch.
The latest figures followed fresh overnight clashes in Libya’s second city Benghazi, where security forces are reported to have shot dead dozens of protesters. Many are thought to have been killed by snipers using high-velocity rounds.
The uprising is the worst in Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s four decades in power. For the moment, however, the violence appears confined to the east of the country, despite some unconfirmed reports of unrest in the West. Opponents have accused his government of drafting in thugs and foreign mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa to carry out the dirty work.
But, while Libyan state TV acknowledged some cities in the country had seen acts of arson and vandalism, it denied the government had anything to do with the foreign forces, claiming they had arrived with a clear agenda to create chaos to destabilise the country. Some eyewitnesses have described last night’s bloodshed in Benghazi as a massacre.