Libyans struggle to pull off Tunisian and Egyptian success

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Though the Facebook group which urged the “Day of Anger” protests on Thursday had more than 22,000 followers, events in Libya influenced by the pro-Muammar Gaddafi protests backed by the Revolutionary Committee suggests Gaddafi might not end up like his counterparts in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia.

As protests against the long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi reaches its fourth day, gun shots can be heard from several parts of the city where pro-Gaddafi protesters and anti-Gaddafi protesters have clashed.

However, pro-Gaddafi protesters say there are “four red lines” that must not be crossed: Muammar Gaddafi, territorial integrity, Islam and internal security.

“We will confront anyone in any square or avenue of our beloved country,” the messages read.

The clash between pro-government protesters and pro-democracy protesters in Libya resulted in over seven deaths on the “Day of Anger” in the capital city of Tripoli. In the southwest of the capital, a number of government buildings were set on fire.

“Seven protesters were killed in the demonstrations Thursday at Benghazi. It is the first time that we have heard shooting in the city. Given the difficulties, we are unable to know if there are fatalities or not,” a local medical official who requested anonymity was quoted by AP as saying.

While some Libyans demand an end to Gaddafi’s regime, lawyers demonstrated in front of a courthouse in Benghazi — Libya’s second city after Tripoli — to demand a constitution for the country.

The Revolutionary Committees, a pro-Gaddafi assembly, have warned they would not allow anti-regime protesters to “plunder the achievements of the people and threaten the safety of citizens and the country’s stability.

The unrests in Libya have been fatal. On Wednesday over four people were killed in the city of Al-Baida, east of Benghazi.

Released videos circulating on the Internet showed dozens of young Libyans apparently gathered on Wednesday night in Al-Baida chanting, “The people want to bring down the regime.”

Geneva-based Human Rights Solidarity, citing witnesses, said rooftop snipers in Al-Baida — a city of 210,000 inhabitants — had killed 13 protesters and wounded dozens of others.

The Libya Watch reported that: “Internal security forces and militias of the Revolutionary Committees used live ammunition to disperse a peaceful demonstration by the youth of Al-Baida, leaving at least four dead and several injured.”

While the international community is awaiting the outcome of the budding Libyan unrest, the United States has said it encouraged Libya, like countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, to take steps to meet the hopes and needs of their people.

Britain however has underlined “the right of peaceful assembly,” France condemned the “excessive use of force” and reaffirmed its “attachment to … the right to demonstrate peacefully everywhere in the world” and the European Union urged Libya to allow “free expression.”

Gaddafi has been in power since 1969. Observers say that the democratic revolution sweeping northern Africa and the Middle East could threaten his reign.

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