Gaddafi Opponents Control Coastal East of Libya, Reports Say

Published on Thursday 24th February 2011

Opponents of leader Moamer Kadhafi control the coastal east of Libya, with government troops fraternising with rebels, media reports say.

Residents in Libya told the AFP news agency that protesters have taken control of the Libyan coast from the city of Tobruk through to Libya's second city Banghazi and as far as Ajdabiya.

French daily Le Monde carries a report from "liberated" Tobruk, which it says has a new anti-Kadhafi radio station.

"They think we are slaves!" "They talks to us as if we were foreigners!" are among the demonstrators chants the paper reports.

Reuters reports celebrations in Tobruk on Tuesday as anti-government protesters trashed a monument to Kadhafi and soldiers said they no longer supported the Libyan leader. Residents say Tobruk had fallen into the hands of anti-Kadhafi opponents.

"This is a revolution," Naji Shelwy, 36, told Reuters. "We are not protesting and we are not doing a sit-in. We want it to be called a revolution. We have spilled more blood than in Egypt and in Tunisia."

Residents in eastern Libya, quoted by AFP, also said that militia men loyal to Kadhafi had been executed in the coastal city of Bayda.

As international condemnation of the government crackdown on protests swells and expats flee the country, Kadhafi appears increasingly isolated despite his defiant speech on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Kadhafi who has been in power for 42 years, swore to crush his opponents and said he would not stand down.

Meanwhile, the country's former envoy to the Arab League says he expects Kadhafi's regime to collapse in the coming days and predicts massacres in the run-up to his downfall.

"I think it is a matter of days, not more," Abdel Moneim al-Honi, who quit his position on Sunday, told the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

"But unfortunately I also think that this is going to cost Libya and the Libyans dearly," he added, while ruling out civil war.



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