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An anti-Gadhafi protester, front, reacts during Friday prayers at the court square in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Friday. Fighters loyal to Gadhafi set up checkpoints in Tripoli ahead of planned anti-government protests Friday. (AP)

Violent Clashes Kill Dozens In Libya; Protests Continue

Mar 4, 2011

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In Libya, attacks by pro-Gadhafi forces in the city of Zawiya have reportedly left at least 30 civilians dead, as well as a man who has been identified as the town's top rebel commander. Control of the city was in hot dispute Friday, as reports emerged that first one side and then the other had the upper hand.

In Zawiya, a witness told CNN, "Civilians were killed but we can not say how many. We buried nine people so far," the witness said. "The attack was indescribable. Direct gunfire was opened on people."

Zawiya is important in two respects: it's just 30 miles west of the capital — most of the other rebel strongholds are to the east — and it also possesses an oil refinery.

Another city important to the country's oil industry, Ras Lanuf, was also the scene of fierce fighting.

In Tripoli, protests that had been planned in the capital were undone by pro-Gadhafi forces, which fired tear gas and live rounds at crowds that had begun shouting "Gaddafi is the enemy of God," according to Reuters.

Also from Reuters, Switzerland banned all financial transfers that might send money to Moammar Gadhafi or his family.

And both Austria and Britain took more steps to freeze Libyan assets, expanding previous efforts to include more members of Gadhafi's entourage, as well as a top official of the Libyan Investment Authority.

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