'Winds of Change' In Libya?

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BY TRACY PFEIFFER ANCHOR MEGAN MURPHY You're watching multisource politics news analysis from Newsy As ...
BY TRACY PFEIFFER ANCHOR MEGAN MURPHY You're watching multisource politics news analysis from Newsy As anti-government demonstrations sweep through the Middle East, reports are coming in of protesters clashing with police in the north African country of Libya -- but conflicting accounts of the day make it difficult to determine what’s going to happen next. Al Jazeera explains the situation, which didn’t necessarily start as an anti-government demonstration. “They’ve come to demonstrate against the arrest of human rights lawyer Fethi Tarbel, but panic sweeps the crowd, then gunshots ring out. ... After dark, the protesters regroup outside the city’s security directorate. Their chants turn against the government and the 41-year-long rule of Muammar Gaddafi.” Col. Gaddafi is the Arab world’s longest-serving leader, though he isn’t exactly a dictator -- Libya is officially a government by committee. One writer for the BBC describes it as a quote- “police state” that quashes dissent and other political parties. (Video: The Telegraph) The state-controlled media reportedly ignored the protests, instead reporting on a pro-Gaddafi rally in quote- “several other cities.” And an anonymous Libyan source dismissed the demonstrations as a revolution to CNN, saying... "’...there is nothing serious here … These are just young people fighting each other.’ The source said the clashes were ‘not political’ and that ‘Libya is not Egypt... This is not an organized revolution.’” But the director of an anti-regime website in the United States tells France 24, the demonstrations are just getting started. EDWARDS: “The protests also spread to other towns, including Tripoli and al Kufra.” ABDULLA DARRAT: “The protests are building steam and the news is spreading throughout Libya. Keep in mind that all of this happened late in the evening and early morning hours, so most a lot of Libyans will be waking up to news of what happened in Benghazi.” EDWARDS: “Meanwhile, a number of Facebook groups have been set up calling for a day of protests on Thursday. This one has over 9,000 members.” So will the world see a repeat of Tunisia and Egypt in Libya? A writer for the BBC says, it’s possible -- but it might be more difficult. “Libya has had protests before, successfully quashed by the powerful security forces. Whatever happens in the coming protests it will be increasingly difficult for the ageing and erratic Col Gaddafi to resist the calls for political freedom, civil rights, a more equitable sharing of the nation's wealth and a move towards a genuine democracy.” Keep in mind news media have been taking videos of the protest with a grain of salt, calling most of them quote- “unconfirmed.” Stick with Newsy for more on Libya and other world headlines. 'Like' Newsy on Facebook to get updates in your newsfeed Transcript by Newsy.