Libyan protests: in pictures

Solidarity rallies are taking place worldwide as Muammar Gaddafi’s son warns that civil war could be

Above, a woman shouts in support of the people of Libya in front of the White House in Washington, DC. In a bloody crackdown in Libya's second city, Benghazi, troops and mercenaries fired on unarmed protesters. The current death toll is at least 230.


Supporters of the Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi, kiss his photograph at a pro-government rally in Tripoli. For the first time since the unrest in Libya began, anti-government protests have spread to the capital, with reports of gunfire and tear gas today.


More pro-government protesters are seen above. Verifying information from Libya has been difficult amid a government crackdown on the internet and media communications.


The Libyan leader's son Saif al-Islam has warned that civil war could hit the country. In a rambling address, he criticised the protesters but promised significant political reforms. He repeatedly said that Libya was "not Egypt or Tunisia".


Above, a girl protests outside the Libyan embassy in London. Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi admitted that the police and army had made "mistakes", but said the death toll was far lower than reported.


Demonstrators in Cairo, Egypt, shout slogans. Colonel Gaddafi, the longest-serving leader in the Arab world, has ruled the oil-rich state since he staged a coup in 1969.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.