Not That the Iranian People Need That Much Inspiration . . .

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 21, 2011

But just in case they do, as they seek to continue their protests, they can always look to Libya:

Anti-government protesters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi have reportedly seized army vehicles and weapons amid worsening turmoil in the African nation.

A local witness said that a section of the troops had joined the protesters on Sunday as chaos swept the streets of the city, worst hit by the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year old rule.

Mohamed, a doctor from Al Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, confirmed to Al Jazeera that members of the military had sided with the protesters.

“We are still receiving serious injuries, I can confirm 13 deaths in our hospital. However, the good news is that people are cheering and celebrating outside after receiving news that the army is siding with the people,” he said.

“But there is still a brigade that is against the demonstrators. For the past three days demonstrators have been shot at by this brigade, called Al-Sibyl brigade.”

The witness reports came on a day in which local residents told Al Jazeera that at least 200 people had died in days of unrest in Benghazi alone. The New York-based Human Rights Watch on Sunday put the countrywide death toll at 173. The rights group said its figure was “conservative”.

The death toll is horrible, but it would appear that the Libyan people are determined to persevere, and that the regime is in trouble; it’s serious, after all, when Qaddafi’s son warns of civil war. It remains to be seen whether Qaddafi’s thugs will be able to turn the tide for him. I don’t put anything past an authoritarian regime, so it is possible that the tempo of the killings will be dramatically increased in order to fully cow the protesters and save the regime, but up until now, the protesters have shown remarkable bravery. If Qaddafi isn’t scared, he should be.

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