Group Says Dozens Dead in Libyan Protests

A human rights group claimed on Saturday that dozens of people have been killed since anti-government protests began in Libya late last week.

Human Rights Watch said more than 80 people have been killed, at least 35 of them reportedly died in the second city of Benghazi, where violent clashes between protesters and government troops have been seen. The BBC said in a report that Libyan soldiers loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi have fired machine guns, among other high-powered firearms, at protesters. Several reports said at least 15 people were killed Saturday when troops fired on people attending a funeral in the city of Benghazi, where anti-government protesters are believed to be most prevalent.

Several witnesses have reportedly told Reuters that Benghazi is no longer under the control of the Gaddafi government. Gaddafi, who has been in power since a 1969 military coup, is the latest leader to be the target of anti-government protests that have been sweeping the Middle East and North Africa following the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.