02/26/2011, 00.00
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Perhaps a thousand people killed in Tripoli after leaving a mosque

Some sources say 30 to 50,000 people demonstrated against Qaddafi. His troops use machine guns to disperse crowds. Libya’s UN delegation to Geneva defects to the opposition.

Tripoli (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The first uprising in Tripoli yesterday caused the death of perhaps a thousand demonstrators.  Sources spoke to Middle East Transparent (MET) about “probably more than a 1,000 killed and hundreds of wounded” near Tripoli’s Green Square. Various agencies, satellite TV channels and newspapers had reported only a few dead, acknowledging though that exact figures were hard to obtain or check.

Yesterday’s uprising was the first mass action in the capital, after the fall of the east and the northwest to rebels bent on ending the dictatorship like their brethren in Tunisia and Egypt.

Sources told MET that yesterday “many demonstrations took place in Tripoli, especially in the neighbourhoods of al-Siyahiyya, Fashloum, Zawiyat al-Dahmani, bin Ashour and Janzour.” Qaddafi’s soldiers controlled every street and fired, “probably killing five or six in each neighbourhood.”

The worst incident took place in Tajura however, a town east of the capital, where people who attended Friday prayers gathered in a demonstration that headed to Tripoli’s Green Square. They were joined by protestors from surrounding neighbourhoods, so that there were around 30-50,000 protestors.

“The Qaddafi brigades met the demonstrators at the Souk al Jumaa Bridge, opening fire with machine guns. [. . .] No one has exact figures. Probably, more than a 1,000 were killed, and hundreds wounded”.

In the meantime, support for Qaddafi continues to erode. Libya's delegation to the United Nations in Geneva announced Friday it was defecting to the opposition—it was given a standing ovation at a gathering of the United Nations Human Rights Council. They join a string of Libyan ambassadors and diplomats around the world who abandoned the regime, as have the justice and interior ministers at home, and one of Qaddafi's cousins and closest aides, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, who sought refuge in Egypt.

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