Snipers Open Fire On Mourners In Libya, Killing 15 - Video

Snipers from Libya's government forces fired on mourners attending a funeral for slain protesters Saturday, killing at least 15 people as demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Moammar Gadhafi continued for the fifth straight day.

Snipers targeted the thousands of people who were attending a mass funeral in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the site of violent protests. The mourners had gathered to honour the 35 protesters who were shot by government forces on Friday.

Dozens of mourners were also injured, with many of the victims suffering from gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

"Many of the dead and the injured are relatives of doctors here," an official at the local hospital told The Associated Press. "They are crying and I keep telling them to please stand up and help us."

Prior to Saturday's bloodshed, the international agency Human Rights Watch said it estimates that at least 84 people have died as Gadhafi's forces crack down hard on protesters calling for an end to his more than 40 years of autocratic rule.

After Friday's violence, the government moved to stifle online communication, a key public relations component for organizers of the demonstrations. U.S.-based Arbor Networks said Internet use in Libya ground to a halt shortly after 2 a.m. local time Saturday, with protesters confirming they were unable to get online.

A few hours later, government special forces broke up a camp of protesters, which included lawyers and judges, outside of the Benghazi courthouse. One protester told the Associated Press that soldiers dispersed the crowd by firing tear gas on the group.
Al Jazeera