CAIRO, Egypt — Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted again Monday, a continuation of Libyan President leader Gadhafi's brutal crackdown on demonstrations demanding the end of his 42-year rule, according to human rights groups and witnesses.
More than 300 people have died in the past five days, according to the most recent figures compiled by Human Rights Watch, the international advocacy group.
Protesters have set their sights on the capital, Tripoli, after celebrations overnight in the next-largest city, Benghazi, which is now described by witnesses as out of the government's control.
By midday Monday, protesters were swarming into Tripoli's Green Square, where they hoped to draw thousands to the streets in defiance of ominous warnings from the government. Gadhafi's son, Seif-al-Islam, said in a televised speech overnight that his father's regime was prepared to fight "until the last bullet."
"This criminal wouldn't hold back from killing people," said Abdullah, 42, a Tripoli resident in Green Square who was reached by phone Monday. He requested anonymity for fear of government retaliation.
"The common feeling is that (Gadhafi) won't leave except by death," Abdullah added.