LIBYA: Women and children killed in violent crackdown

Summary: Women and children are among the over 300 killed after armed forced opened fire at a funeral ceremony for dead protesters.

[21 February 2010] - Fifteen mourners were gunned down on Saturday as troops in Libya opened fire at a funeral for 35 protesters killed on Friday.

Mercenaries in the pay of Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, opened fire on a protest camp in Benghazi, the country’s second biggest city.

“The blood of our martyrs is still leaking from coffins over the shoulders of the mourners,” one female protester said while standing in front of about 20 coffins.

Reports said some of the 35 dead were killed when women and children attempted to flee the firing by jumping off a bridge. Others were shot in their sleep.

Britain has considerable economic interests in Libya. British exports to Libya have risen to more than £400m and are set to increase dramatically as oil and gas investments develop.

Britain halted military exports to Libya last week, but sniper rifles, which may have killed protesters yesterday, were amongst equipment exported to Tripoli last year.

Last year’s arms exports to Libya included tear gas, and £3.2 million worth of ammunition including some for crowd control.


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