Six die in Libya ''Day of Anger''

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Nicosia, Feb 17 (AFP) Six people were killed in theLibyan city of Benghazi today, as Moamer Kadhafi''s regimesought to overshadow an opposition "Day of Anger" with its ownrally in the capital Tripoli.

Violent clashes in Benghazi have so far left six deadtoday, the Al-Youm and Al-Manara sites reported on what wasthe third straight day of protests against the long-timeLibyan leader.

Separately, lawyers demonstrated in front of acourthouse in Benghazi -- Libya''s second city after Tripoli --to demand a constitution for the country.

The websites, monitored in Nicosia, said at least fourpeople were killed in the city of Al-Baida, 200 kilometreseast of Benghazi, yesterday.

Sites monitored in Cyprus and a Libyan human rightsgroup based abroad reported earlier that the anti-Kadhafiprotests in Al-Baida had cost as many as 13 lives.

"Internal security forces and militias of theRevolutionary Committees used live ammunition to disperse apeaceful demonstration by the youth of Al-Baida," leaving "atleast four dead and several injured," according to LibyaWatch.

Geneva-based Human Rights Solidarity, citingwitnesses, said rooftop snipers in Al-Baida -- a city of210,000 inhabitants -- had killed 13 protesters and woundeddozens of others.

But the Quryna newspaper, close to Kadhafi''s son Seifal-Islam, cited official sources and put the death toll attwo. It traced the unrest to a police shutdown of local shopsthat soon escalated.

The interior ministry fired the head of security inAl-Jabal Al-Akhdar province in the aftermath of the violence,in which protesters had torched "several police cars andcitizens," the paper said on its website.

Videos circulating on the Internet showed dozens ofyoung Libyans apparently gathered on Wednesday night inAl-Baida chanting, "The people want to bring down the regime,"and a building which had been set on fire.

In Tripoli, the situation was calm. A pro-regime rallywas organised in Green Square, near the capital''s water front,with students being bused in to take part.

Traffic was lighter than usual and the securitypresence on main roads slightly boosted, after text messageswent out on Libya''s mobile telephone network on Wednesdaywarning against street protests.

The messages, circulated from "the youth of Libya,"warned against crossing "four red lines: Moamer Kadhafi,territorial integrity, Islam and internal security."

The Revolutionary Committees, the backbone ofKadhafi''s regime, have warned they would not allow anti-regimeprotesters to "plunder the achievements of the people andthreaten the safety of citizens and the country''s stability."

The response to Thursday''s protest calls was beingseen as a test for Kadhafi, 68, who has been in power since1969. His counterparts in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia havebeen toppled in uprisings over the past month. (AFP)

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