February 25, 2011

Witnesses reported fierce clashes in the Libyan capital Friday between Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces and anti-regime protesters while state television aired images of the embattled but defiant strongman urging viewers to defend the nation.

More violence unfolded as the world’s top human rights official said Gadhafi’s bloody crackdown was “escalating alarmingly” and “thousands may have been killed or injured.”

“Although reports are still patchy and hard to verify, one thing is painfully clear: In brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protesters,” said Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights.

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