February 17, 2011
Posted: 1022 GMT
Libyan police clashed with protesters chanting anti-government slogans and demanding the release of a human rights activist early Wednesday, an independent source in the country told CNN.
Up to 200 protesters in the coastal city of Benghazi were supporting human rights activist and lawyer Fathi Terbil, who had been detained earlier, the source said.
Several people were arrested after police confronted the protesters, the source added.
However, a highly placed Libyan source close to the government sought to downplay the reports of unrest. The source asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
"There is nothing serious here," the highly placed source said. "These are just young people fighting each other ... There is no police, no security in Benghazi."
The source characterized the clashes as "street fights" and said they were "not political."
Meanwhile, demonstrations in support of long-time Libyanleader Moammar Gadhafi took place in several cities Wednesday, including Benghazi, the country's state news agency reported.
CNN's independent source said the government mobilized thousands of people in several Libyan cities early Wednesday, and is conveying the message that while grievances will be addressed, calls for the regime's overthrow will not be tolerated. Read more...
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