Econintersect: Many have wondered how long the 40-year reign of Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya could excape the protest demonstrations that have spread through the North African and middle East region. Wonder no longer. Protests, accompanied by violence, erupted in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city overnight Tuesday into Wednesday (January 15-16).The outburst on Tuesday was small by standards establish recently in other countries, with several hundred reportedly involved.
From The New York Times:
The eruption of violence in Libya’s second city, Benghazi, was not reported in the state-run media, which said rallies would be held Wednesday in support of Colonel Qaddafi — a tactic reflecting the pro-government demonstrations unleashed on protests in Egypt and Yemen.
Resorting to a time-honored technique among Arab leaders, Colonel Qaddafi tried to deflect attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, delivering a speech Wednesday urging Arabs to join in a mass march on Israel. He also reportedly said he would like to join the Libyan protesters himself, to improve the performance of a government that he professes not to have a hand in running.
In a move that was probably scheduled before last night’s unrest, Libya is planning to release 110 members of a banned militant Islamist organization on Wednesday (Reuters). Econintesect has not determined as of this writing if the releases have taken place or been delayed because of last nights riots.