Britain urges restraint in Libya after clashes

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Britain on Wednesday called for restraint in Libya after dozens of people were injured during clashes in the eastern city of Benghazi following uprisings in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia.

"We are concerned by reports of the arrest of Libyans who have called for demonstrations or spoken to the media and of violent incidents during demonstrations in Benghazi," said Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt.

"I call on the Libyan government to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and on all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from violence."

Thirty-eight people were treated for light injuries following the violence in Benghazi, the director of the city's Al-Jala hospital, Abdelkarim Gubeaili, told AFP.

Quryna newspaper said security forces and demonstrators clashed late on Tuesday in what it branded the work of "saboteurs" among a small group of protesters.

Libya was braced for further unrest after activists called a "Day of Anger" on Thursday using social networking site Facebook.

Burt, minister for the Middle East and North Africa, also welcomed efforts by Libya to "promote reconciliation", including the release of a further 110 Islamists of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

© 2011 AFP

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