Riots rock Libya; protesters call “day of rage”

Hundreds of protesters clashed with police and government supporters the night of Feb. 15 in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, after human rights lawyer Fathi Tarbel was arrested. Police used water cannon and teargas against what began as a protest begun by relatives of prisoners killed in a 1996 massacre who were demanding the release of the lawyer. Opposition supporters have called for a nationwide “day of rage” on Feb. 17. Several journalists and longtime dissident Idris al-Mismari are reported detained. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all briefly blocked, as were AlJazeera and al-Arabiya television. State TV showed crowds of pro-government supporters shouting slogans in Tripoli’s Green Square. Reports of two killed in the street fighting could not be confirmed. (The Guardian, Feb. 16)

Feb. 17 has been chosen for the “day of rage” to mark the deaths in February 2006 of a dozen demonstrators at a protest during the Danish cartoon controversy. (FT, Feb. 16)

See our last posts on Libya and the revolutionary upsurge in the Maghreb.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.