Protesters Seize Several East Libyan Cities

Reports Say Libyan Govt Relying on Mercenaries from Chad in Fight

by Jason Ditz, February 18, 2011

Libya’s national congress has announced that it will suspend itself indefinitely as unrest looks to be overwhelming the Libyan government and President-for-life Moammar Gadhafi’s ability to cope.

Protesters say that they’ve actually taken control of a number of cities in eastern Libya, and that they have in some cases been joined by local security forces. Protesters have also seized jails and released detainees.

Faced with the growing inability to crush the protesters with their own troops, the military is said to have withdrawn from al-Bayda, and the opposition reports that the government has been bringing in mercenaries from neighboring Chad to fight the protests.

With some 40 years in office, President Gadhafi had made a lot of enemies, and like many of the dictators in the region appears to be rapidly losing control of the situation. The death toll is said to be spiraling as well in the east, and the confirmed “24 dead” from earlier today will likely be replaced shortly with scores reported slain in Benghazi and elsewhere.

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