In the wake of Egypt’s massive protests which resulted in the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak, neighboring Libya is now in the midst of its own popular uprising.
On Feb. 15, demonstrations began in multiple Libyan cities – including Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city – following the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel. Since then, protestors have continued to call for the end of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
However, the most worrisome part of the situation in Libya compared to the recent similar uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia is that there seems to be little possibility of a peaceful resolution to the current conflict.
Gaddafi has taken a powerfully hard-line stance against the demonstrators thus far, going so far as to urge his supporters to take to the streets to fight the protestors, saying that those who stand in opposition to his government “deserve to die.”
“I will fight on to the last drop of my blood,” Gaddafi said in a televised appearance.
As a result of this tension, an estimated 300 to 500 have died so far. With the chaos continuing to rage throughout the country, even more are likely to be killed, making this a much bloodier revolution than the other recent North African clashes.
While the international news media can’t seem to get enough of these African revolutions, the Libyan situation has the potential to become an entirely different beast. With a stubborn dictator willing to do whatever it takes to protect his power and a populace determined to see him gone, it remains to be seen whether this conflict can be resolved before it escalates into something even more violent.