Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Gaddafi Violence Against Libya Civilians Exaggerated, Says British Group

Published on April 21, 2011 by   ·   No Comments

In other circumstances they could have been a group of British package tourists, clad in identical T-shirts, clambering on and off buses with cameras hanging around their necks.

But Libya has no tourists now, let alone of the package variety. And the 13 Britons who toured the west of the country over eight days, had a self-declared mission: to “find facts” about the situation in Gaddafi-controlled Libya to counter what they described as the manipulation and distortion of the western media.

The group, calling itself British Civilians for Peace in Libya, had found each other through word-of-mouth and the internet. They were, they said, academics, lawyers, a doctor, humanitarian campaigners and “independent journalists”, collectively outraged about the attacks on Libyan government forces by “the biggest military force in the world” – Nato.

For some, it was their first visit to Libya. The delegation’s leader, David Roberts, 55, from Leicester, said he had been several times before. A Dave Roberts, also from Leicester, is quoted in a web report as addressing a youth conference in Tripoli in 1999, ending his speech with a rousing cry of “Long liveMuammar Gaddafi.”

At a press conference at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, before the group left for the Tunisian border, Roberts and his colleagues set out their “interim conclusions”.

They had received numerous reports of civilian fatalities caused by Nato bombing, they said, although they presented no evidence. They had uncovered nothing that suggested anti-government protests or dissent, dismissing extensive footage of demonstrators being shot which was obtained and broadcast by the BBC. They had “witnessed substantial support for the government by broad sections of society”, while admitting that they had been accompanied by government officials in whose presence no opposition-sympathising Libyan can speak openly.

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