Libyan security forces killed at least 84 people over three days of protests, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday, citing telephone interviews with local hospital staff and witnesses.
“Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the eastern Libyan cities of Benghazi, Baida, Ajdabiya, Zawiya and Derna on February 18, 2011, following violent attacks against peaceful protests the day before that killed 20 people in Benghazi, 23 in Baida, three in Ajdabiya, and three in Derna,” the New York-based watchdog said.
“Hospital sources told Human Rights Watch that security forces killed 35 people in Benghazi on February 18, almost all with live ammunition.”
The watchdog’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Joe Stork, called on the Libyan authorities to respect the right of free assembly.
“Moamer Kadhafi’s security forces are firing on Libyan citizens and killing scores simply because they’re demanding change and accountability,” he said.
“Libyan authorities should allow peaceful protesters to have their say.”