Libya hotel brawl after rape claim
Dramatic footage has emerged of western journalists, including some Britons, caught up in a hotel brawl in Tripoli after a Libyan woman burst in announcing she had been raped by government troops.
The woman was tackled by waitresses and government minders as she sat telling her story to the press.
In a state of distress, she had rushed into the restaurant at the Rixos hotel, where a number of journalists were eating breakfast this morning.
She told them troops had detained her at a checkpoint, tied her up, abused her, then led her away to be gang-raped - an account that could not be independently verified. She claimed she was targeted by the troops because she is from the eastern city of Benghazi, a rebel stronghold.
In response, a hotel waitress brandished a butter knife, a government minder reached for his handgun and another waitress pulled a jacket tightly over her head. The waiters called her a traitor and tried to stop her talking.
The scene descended into chaos when the journalists tried to intervene to protect the woman and were pushed out of the way by the government minders.
A British television reporter was punched and a CNN camera was smashed on the ground by the minders. A gun was pulled out in front of a Sky News crew but was not pointed at anyone.
Meanwhile the cameras continued to roll and journalists tried to smuggle the footage out but said attempts were made to prevent this.
Sky News foreign affairs correspondent Lisa Holland was among the reporters caught up in the melee, but Sky said none of its staff were injured. The fracas culminated in the minders overpowering the woman, leading her outside and shoving her into a car that sped away.
At a hastily arranged press conference after the incident, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said investigators had told him the woman was drunk and possibly mentally challenged. He added that she was under investigation.