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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 15:21 GMT
Angry Libyan protest at UK embassy
The demonstration outside the British embassy
Riot police used clubs against the protesters
Libyan anti-riot police have clashed with angry demonstrators trying to break into the British embassy in Tripoli.


People are very angry. They want to storm into the British embassy to express their anger and that's why we were obliged to intervene

Libyan police officer

Tear gas grenades and batons were used to beat back the crowd protesting against last week's verdict in the Lockerbie bombing trial. The demonstration, by thousands of young people, was initially allowed to continue by the authorities.

An official at the British embassy told the BBC that no one was hurt at the embassy and that there was no breach of security.

Arrested demonstrator is taken away
About 30 demonstrators were arrested
A Libyan police officer told Reuters news agency: "People are very angry. They want to storm into the British embassy to express their anger and that's why we were obliged to intervene."

Police arrested at least 30 protesters, according to reports.

Outrage

Scottish judges last week convicted a Libyan man, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, of the 1988 Pan Am airliner bombing over Scotland in which 270 people were killed.

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
Gaddafi in a three-hour diatribe on Monday
A BBC correspondent who has just left Tripoli, Frank Gardner, says Libyans are certainly outraged by the Lockerbie verdict, but the demonstrations are permitted and even encouraged by the Libyan authorities.

Our correspondent says Colonel Gaddafi appears to be hardening his stance towards the west.

Only hours previously, the Libyan leader had told the BBC he thought relations between his country and Britain could improve.

Television coverage

Libyan television interrupted its regular output on Tuesday to show the demonstration.

A screen caption read: "Demonstrations of anger throughout the towns and villages of the great Jamahiriyya, demanding the release of the hostage kidnapped Libyan citizen Abdelbaset Al Megrahi."

Demonstration in Tripoli
Al Megrahi's portrait held up at a demonstration in Libya
The demonstrators burned the US flag and chanted anti-American slogans.

The television later showed the clashes between demonstrators and anti-riot police with the screen caption: "Armed people units forced to intervene to protect the premises of international organisations and foreign embassies from the anger of the masses."

Police were shown beating and arresting demonstrators.

An ambulance was shown leaving the area of the clashes, while demonstrators carried mock coffins with the words, "Victims of the US raid" written on them.

US and Britain

The latest protest came after Britain and the United States said there was no sign that Colonel Gaddafi was ready to fulfil their conditions for lifting sanctions imposed after the Lockerbie bombing.

On Monday, he said the Libyan agent convicted in the Lockerbie bombing trial last week was innocent and insisted "Libya was innocent of Lockerbie".

He has dismissed US and British demands for Libya to accept responsibility and pay compensation to the relatives of those killed in the 1988 bombing.

A US State Department spokesman said: ''It's quite clear what he needs to do and... it's quite clear that he hasn't yet said he's going to do them."

On behalf of the relatives of the Lockerbie victims, Washington wants Libya to pay $740m (£500m) in compensation, or about $3m (£2m) for each victim.

Colonel Gaddafi said that "all the victims of the United States, from Vietnam to Tripoli" would have to be paid damages first.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"Flags were produced, burned and stamped on"
The BBC's Frank Gardner
"Police fired dozens of tear gas grenades after the initially peaceful protest turned violent"

Full verdicts
Lockerbie opinion posted by Scots Court Service
Lockerbie megapuff graphic

AUDIO VIDEO

Appeal concludes

Key stories

Features

The trial
See also:

06 Feb 01 | In Depth
05 Feb 01 | Americas
02 Feb 01 | Middle East
05 Feb 01 | Middle East
05 Feb 01 | In Depth
01 Feb 01 | Americas
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