Human Rights Watch yesterday reported that at least 24 demonstrators had been killed in Libya over the last two days, and some speculate that that number could be much higher. In terms of communication and the availability of reliable news, Libya closer resembles North Korea than many of its neighbors. And besides ordering riot police and special forces to crack down on protests in Benghazi and other cities, Brother Leader Muammar Qaddafi has taken a page from the Hosni Mubarak playbook, according to the HRW report:

"The protester said he saw groups of men in street clothes armed with knives, later joined by Internal Security forces, charging the protesters to disperse them."

Text messages were also sent out over the Libyana mobile network urging "nationalist youth" to take to the streets to "defend national symbols." In other words, the government wants thugs to protect all of those glorious portraits of the benevolent Brother Leader wearing shades that are seen all across the country. And though the protests in Libya are just starting to grow, with media on a near-total lockdown in Libya don't expect to see gripping images of a popular uprising like those from Cairo's Tahrir Square and downtown Tunis anytime soon. The protesters in Libya, aside from leaking shaky cell phone images and handheld videos, are largely on their own to get the news out.

[Image via AP]