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Libya: Benghazi Rises Against Gaddafi (Updated)

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

News organizations and people on the ground have reported that Libya's army have shot at demonstrators in Benghazi protesting against the 42-year-rule of Muammar Al Gaddafi. Located 1,400km east of Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast, Benghazi is the country’s second largest city.

Updated Scattered reports from Benghazi and in other parts of the country show the death toll of protesters is rising. To keep up with protests in Libya (and government reactions), please view this map created by @Arasmus from “trusted Twitter accounts” to help with communication gap as independent media in Libya is scarce.

Updates from Twitter

@ShababLibya: Confirmation now, that various brigades of the libyan army is now joining protesters to fight #gaddafi #Libya #Feb17

@Arasmus: AlJazeera reporting doctors re civilian injuries in #Benghazi #Libya indicate “Absolutely a shoot-to-kill policy” http://goo.gl/xm6fV #feb17

@SultanAlQassemi: Inside source now says that 150 deaths today in intense fighting. There is one single brigade in Benghazi with Saadi Gaddafi protecting him.

@shaistaAziz: AJE: A doctor in a #Benghazi says state security buildings have been burnt down by protesters.15 bodies received by the hospital #Libya

@abduBREAKING: Al-Fadhil Brigade building in #Benghazi has fallen. This is the last base and the ppl are in control of Benghazi. #Libya

@Gheblawi: Medical Supplies are needed urgently in #Benghazi and all other cities in east of #Libya spread the word

Rumors have spread that the government has used foreign mercenaries to attack protesters. A video uploaded on You Tube Saturday, February 19 allegedly shows Libyans carrying the body of a dead mercenary, whom they believe to be from sub-Saharan Africa, possibly from Chad.

Earlier in the day, CNN's blog reported a doctor told the news organization helicopters were flying above demonstrations and had fired on demonstrators, injuring “dozens.”

It is impossible to verify reports on the ground. Reactions from Twitter are taking place now in this very fluid situation:

@ShababLibya: Confirmation now, that various brigades of the libyan army is now joining protesters to fight #gaddafi #Libya #Feb17

@iyad_elbaghdadi: Confirmed: Snipers in helicopters shooting randomly in #Benghazi #Feb17 #Libya

@abdu: Ahmed from Benghazi says the army is now coming into #Benghazi and people are afraid of a massacre coming up

@EnoughGaddafi: Horrific Violence visited on Libyans by regime, foreign mercenaries attacking protesters and people in their homes in #Benghazi #Libya

@Libyan4life: CONFIRMED: Jala Hospital has no more rm for dead, bodies lined up outside of hospital, helicopters shooting over #Benghazi

@iyad_elbaghdadi: Reports that over 200 dead near Fadhil camp in #Benghazi now! #Libya

On Friday, February 18, 2011, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Libyan authorities blocked Al-Jazeera's website and jammed its satellite transmission. The government also restricted access to Facebook and Twitter. Foreign Policy reported protesters took over a radio station.

This video, uploaded Friday, February 18, shows protests in Benghazi against the regime of Muammar Al Gaddafi.

Al Jazeera English uploaded this video of protesters in Benghazi during the night of February 18.

Libyans have been protesting for five days, since February , against President Gaddafi and his government. Protests began with demonstrations against what protesters described as the country's corrupt rulers.

Stay tuned for more coverage from Libya.

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

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