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Police disperse anti-government demonstration in Libya

RIA Novosti

12:57 16/02/2011 MOSCOW, February 16 (RIA Novosti) - At least 14 people were injured when police dispersed an anti-government demonstration in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi in the early hours of Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported.

Demonstrators gathered in front of police headquarters, chanting slogans against the "corrupt rulers of the country", the TV channel said. Police fired tear gas at the protesters and used batons to disperse them, it said.

The TV channel quoted local private newspaper Quryna as saying the protesters were armed with petrol bombs and threw stones at police and government supporters.

Inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, Libyan protesters also called for a "Day of Rage" on Thursday in a bid to challenge the 41-year rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who has been accused of human rights abuses.

Gaddafi, who came to power on the back of a 1969 coup, is the longest-serving leader in both Africa and the Arab world.

The spark for the protest was believed to be the detention of Fathi Terbil, a human rights lawyer, by the Libyan security forces. Terbil was reportedly later released.

Local media reports said pro-Gaddafi demonstrations were held earlier on Wednesday in several cities across the country following the Benghazi protest.

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