LIBYA: Videos claim to show scenes of protests in violence-hit city of Zawiya


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Reports have surfaced about army units and militias loyal to the besieged Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi launching an attack on anti-government protesters in the town of Zawiya, located 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) west of Tripoli, on Thursday. Pan-Arab news network Al Jazeera, citing witnesses, said 100 people had been killed in the clashes between the protesters and the Kadafi forces.

Amateur footage purportedly showing the incident that was aired on Al Jazeera showed what appeared to be some clouds of billowing smoke in the air while shots were heard rattling the air.


Salem Gnan, a London-based spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, gave a disturbing account of the situation in Zawiya to the Guardian newspaper based on testimonies from his niece who lives in the city.

‘She said they are bombing the town and lots of mercenaries have been flown in,’ he said.’People had been going to a gathering to hear speeches this morning when the planes came and bombed them. More than 30 people were killed. It is very bad. My sister’s daughter was crying and crying on the phone but the people will not stop fighting.’

Zawiya has reportedly been the scene of protests in recent days. Two days ago the police were said to have fled the city as a house belonging to Kadafi stood ablaze and shops remained closed. The video above is said to have been filmed at a recent anti-government rally in Zawiya. It shows crowds chanting ‘the people want to topple the regime’ in Arabic while the old royal flag of Libya is seen fluttering from a nearby building.

Below, a video claimed to have been shot in Zawiya in recent days depicts what appears to be demonstrators out in the streets chanting as flames engulf a car in the middle of the road and some nearby buildings.

--Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Video credit: YouTube