The video and audio telling the story of Libya

Piecing together events.

Human Rights Watch now says that at least 104 people have been killed in Libya since last Wednesday when protests against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule broke out. But with few journalists on the ground – foreign reporters are officially banned – piecing together what is happening is not easy. Filling the void are amateur video and eyewitness accounts from Libyans prepared to speak out.

Some of the most dramatic video is that featured in this ITN package (and seen elsewhere), which appears to show mercenaries in yellow hard hats opening fire on protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi.


The Arabic news channel al-Jazeera has what it claims is exclusive (but again, amateur) footage, including the apparent capture of a mercenary hired by the Libyan regime to attack demonstrators. Disturbingly, it also has film from inside a hospital morgue.


Meanwhile, the BBC is currently running further amateur film of protesters in Benghazi, reportedly taken on Friday.

The Feb 17 voices Twitter feed is carrying some eyewitness accounts in audio, including this one, titled: "Can you hear the gunfire in the background?"


Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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.