Live Blog - Libya

By Al Jazeera Staff in on Thu, 2011-02-17 04:39.
Saif Gaddafi, the son of Libya's leader, warned of 'civil war' in a speech on Sunday night.

As protests in Libya enter their eighth day, following a "day of rage" on Thursday, we keep you updated on the developing situation from our headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

(All times are local in Libya GMT+2)

Blog: Feb17 - Feb18 - Feb19 - Feb20

AJE Live Stream  - Twitter Audio: Voices from Libya  - Benghazi Protest Radio (Arabic)

Benghazi Webcam - Libyan Youth Movement - LibyaFeb17.com

February 22

5:33am: Our live blog for February 22 continues here.

3:32am: Crowdsourced Googlemap of violence by #Gaddafi loyalists against protesters in Libya by Google

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3:18am:
Photo retrieved via @ammr

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3:07am:
Hacktivist group Anonymous issues statement in solidarity with Libya protesters.

3:05am:
A 2009 US diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks and published today by Afterposten asks which of Gaddafi’s sons is best positioned to take over in any power struggle following the end of their father’s rule. Read full cable here.

2:00am:
A group of Libyan army officers have reportedly issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to “join the people” and help remove Gaddafi from power

1:42am:
  In a statement released by the UN, Ban Ki-moon is said to be “outraged” at reports that Libyan authorities shot at demonstrators from war planes and helicopters.  

Such attacks would constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law

1:40am Libya's deputy ambassador Dabbashi to UN: "No fly zone should be called over Libya"

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1:20am:
Al Jazeera Arabic reports that adverts appear in Guinea and Nigeria offering would-be mercenaries up to US $2000 dollars per day

1:09am:
Any news of that address by Gaddafi? No. We recommend you stay tuned to our TV stream for the latest news - by clicking here. And if you're in the US, you can Demand Al Jazeera on your cable provider...

1:01am: Reports flowing in of protests in solidarity with Libyan anti-Gaddafi activists being organised in London, Berlin, Paris, Washington DC, Cairo, New York City... Check the #Libya tag on Twitter for details in your area

12:59am: Financial Times reports oil groups are preparing to shut down operations in Libya

12:53am: Dozens of students and political activists have been arrested in Zimbabwe for watching Al Jazeera's reports on uprisings in north Africa, reports the New York Times.

12:49am: Reports emerge that BP is preparing to evacuate its employees from Libya. The corporation has major contracts with Libya, the EU's third-largest supplier of oil

12:45am: Regular Al Jazeera contributor Marc Lynch has written this interesting piece, weighing the merits and pitfalls of foreign intervention in Libya.  Check it out for yourself here

It is time for the United States, NATO, the United Nations and the Arab League to act forcefully to try to prevent the already bloody situation from degenerating into something much worse.

12:41am: State TV is airing "confessions" by Tunisians in Libya saying they were behind the uprising.

12:34am: Images of bodies gutted in the attacks are too harrowing to be shown. Our colleagues on the TV side of the newsroom have had to pixellate the bloodied bodies, where limbs have been hacked off and torsos maimed. 

12:32am: Saif Gaddafi denies any airstrikes on Libyan cities

12:30am: Further reports that Libyan border guards have abandoned the eastern border with Egypt

12:22am: Deputy FM denies use of mercenaries against Libyan citizens

12:20am: Still waiting for that speech from Gaddafi.

12:17am: Once the Libyan foreign minister comes off air, we'll bring you a translated transcript of the fascinating exchange as soon as possible. Watch this space. Or follow Al Jazeera correspondent Rawya Rageh on Twitter @ who is tweeting about it constantly...

12:15am: Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, says: "Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed"

12:11am: Al Jazeera Arabic presenter tries to corner Khaled al-Gaeim, deputy foreign minister, to allow the network into the country to report on events there.

If you don't trust our coverage, why are you on air with us now?

Deputy FM: 

I called in to tell you about your dismal coverage, and to say that you do not own the airwaves

12:09am: Libyan deputy foreign minister denies any massacres have occurred in Benghazi or anywhere else in the country.  He then blames Al Jazeera for "inciting strife".

What do you gain from your coverage? More employees?

12:06am: Calls for solidarity protests around the world spread globally across online social networks.

12:03am: Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Istanbul, says a plane sent earlier today to pick up some of the 25,000 Turkish workers in Libya had to turn back after approaching the country - because there was no-one left in air control facilities

12:01am: Online reports say Darnah city now under attack from "mercenaries".

February 21

11:59pm: Doctors in Tripoli report wounds in patients received today mostly from gunshots.

11:46pm: Unconfirmed reports suggest the Migraha tribe has now abandoned Gaddafi. This follows the Tuareg and Warfela tribes who came out in support of the protests yesterday.

11:43pm: Al Arabiya reports Gaddafi will be delivering a TV address soon. If he does, you can bet we'll be covering it on Al Jazeera English. Watch our rolling coverage by clicking here.

11:38pm: Gaddafi's top aide tells Al Jazeera: To keep his seat and his power, Gaddafi will "stop at nothing". Al Jazeera correspondent Rawya Rageh tweets: "Amazing interview on AJA now! Man who I always saw as Gaddafi's shadow when I visited - now trashing the Libyan leader."

11:32pm: This video has just emerged online, claiming to be footage of yesterday's attempt by protesters to take control of Green Square in central Tripoli. The quality is blurry, but what sounds like gunshots can clearly be heard. Once again, given the Gaddafi regime's total control of media access to the country, there is no way of confirming its veracity.

11:18pm: Ojli calls for international action "to stop the killings".

11:16pm: Ali Ojli, Libya's ambassador to the US, is on air live now on Al Jazeera English. Watch here.

11:14pm: Venezuela's foreign minister says his Libyan counterpart told him - by phone - that Gaddafi "is still in Tripoli, practicing the powers given to him by the state".  He also said British foreign minister William Hague's comments "were made in an irresponsible way". 

11:07pm: Gabriel Elizondo, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Sao Paulo, has just posted this blog: Brazil's business in Libya

11:05pm: The Egyptian army's Facebook page says the Egypt-Libya border is now open, Reuters reports.

11:00pm: Libyan state TV says "security forces have begun an extensive operation against dens of vandals".

10:59pm: Libyan city of Misratah, east of Tripoli, is latest to be attacked by airstrikes. Heavy artillery fire devastates buildings as tanks roll into the city, witnesses tell Al Jazeera.

10:57pm: Antonio Patriota, Brazilian foreign minister, denies Gaddafi has requested asylum in Brazil

10:56pm: Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Istanbul, says Turkey "has 25,000 reasons to tiptoe around the Gaddafi regime - the number of its citizens still in the country.

10:52pm: Two military planes reportedly land at Benghazi airfield - after their pilots refused to attack the city, our colleagues at Al Jazeera Arabic tell us.

10:49pm: Yet more airstrikes are targeting civilians, right now, in the city of Az-Zawiya- west of Tripoli, witnesses tell Al Jazeera. No news yet of numbers killed or injured.

10:44pm: Al Jazeera receives this emotional appeal for help from a woman in Tripoli.

People are leaving their homes, expecting they will never return.

10:40pm: Yusuf Al Qardawi, a leading Sunni cleric, has just issued a fatwa on Al Jazeera Arabic, encouraging the assassination of Gaddafi.

10:37pm: Online reports say the Libyan-Egyptian border is now open, with crossing points unstaffed.

10:32pm: Al Jazeera confirms Brazilian construction company Odebrecht ordering mandatory evacuation of all its 5,000 foreign staff - including 187 Brazilians - from Libya. the company has the main contract to build Tripoli airport, as well as the city's ring road - deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  All projects are immediately halted, they annouce. 

10:25pm: More on the resignation of the two diplomats from the embassy in Washington DC. Counsels Saleh Ali Al Majbari and Jumaa Faris denounced Gaddafi, saying he "bears responsibility for genocide against the Libyan people in which he has used mercenaries".

They said they had nothing to do with the events and they no longer represent Gaddafi’s regime - but that they represent the Libyan people. The pair also called on Barack Obama to "work urgently with the international community to press for an immediate cessation of the massacres of the Libyan people", and they are asking the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone imposed on Libya to prevent the arrival of mercenaries to Libya.

10:19pm: Italian foreign ministry puts out urgent statement categorically denying online rumours alleging the use of Italian fighter jets in the bombardment of protesters.

The Italian foreign ministry's spokesman harshly criticises the spread of totally false rumours suggesting the involvement of Italy in the events underway in Libya.

10:11pm: Al Jazeera announces it is allowing any networks to broadcast its material due to the deliberate scrambling of its signals by Libya. During jamming, Al Jazeera English can be watched on Hotbird 13E Frequency: 11034 Vertical FEC: 3/4 Symbol rate: 27500; on Badr4/Eurobird 2 (26East) Frequency : 11680.8 Horizontal; SR: 27.5: FEC: 3/4; and on Nilesat/ Atlantic Bird4A (7West) Frequency: 11393 Vertical; SR:27.5; FEC :3/4

Al Jazeera Arabic can be watched on Nilesat 7W Frequency: 11555 Vertical FEC: 3/4 Symbol rate: 27500

10:03pm: Two senior diplomats at the Libyan embassy to Washington DC have reportedly resigned.

9:55pm: Al Jazeera's interview with Ibrahim Dabbashim Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the UN:

 

9:53pm: Marwan Ghariani, a protester outside the Libyan embassy in London, says he spoke to his family last night.

The person I was speaking to had someone shot through the head next to him while he was on the phone ... What sort of punishment could be suitable for someone like Gaddafi?

9:51pm: New airstrikes have hit Al Joumhouria [The republic] Street in Tripoli, eyewitnesses tell Al Jazeera Arabic.

9:46pm: Confirmed - Ali al-Essawi, ambassador to India, has resigned. He has accused the government of deploying foreign mercenaries against Libyan citizens. We're hoping to get him live on Al Jazeera English. You can watch our TV feed by clicking here.

9:41pm: Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Hosam Zaki says the Egyptian army has been ordered to facilitate the evacuation of all Egyptians from Libya.  Some 100 buses, full of Egyptians, are on their way to the Libya-Egypt border - where the army has set up relief tents.

The ministry is "deeply concerned" by Saif Gaddafi's speech last night, which they say accused Egyptians of being behind Libya's violence

9:39pm: Italy - which has the closest ties to Libya of any European country - will launch a 'repatriation plan' tomorrow, with planes taking off in the morning.

9:35pm: Earlier reports confirmed - an anti-Gaddafi protester managed to scale the Libyan embassy in London and replaced the state flag with that of the protesters.

9:29pm: Ali Richi, the Libyan minister for immigration is in Boston. He denies he has resigned yet, but is calling for all Libyan ambassadors to continue their work independently of he regime.

9:27pm: Residents of Tajura, a suburb to the south-east of Tripoli, tell Al Jazeera the bodies of those killed are being left in the streets, with relatives unable to retrieve them due to the ongoing shooting.

9:24pm: Ali al-Essawi, Libya's ambassador to India has reportedly resigned. If confirmed, he will be the seventh ambassador to quit their posts in protest at the violent crackdown against civilian demonstrators - and may signal the beginning of a collapse in Libya's diplomatic corps.

9:19pm: Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, contacts Amr Moussa, Arab League secretary-general, and calls for an extraordinary meeting of the league. The meeting will be held tomorrow morning, we understand.

9:11pm: Footage emerges online showing burnt corpses, reportedly of those killed during fires in Benghazi.

9:09pm: The Libyan deputy foreign minister denies Gaddafi has fled the country, says Reuters.

9:00pm: Al Jazeera is providing rolling coverage of the ongoing crisis in Libya. You can watch our TV stream by clicking here. In the UK, we're live right now on Freeview. And if you're in the US, don't forget, you can Demand Al Jazeera on your cable provider. 

8:52pm: Qatar's foreign ministry condemns use of airstrikes against civilians - and also criticises "the silence of the international community over the bloody events in Libya".

8:49pm: Online reports suggest Shukri Ghanem, Libya's oil minister and former prime minister, is apparently missing and has fled.

8:45pm: Ibrahim Dabbashim Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, tells Al Jazeera if Gaddafi does not get out, "the people will kick him out".

This is the end of the game. The whole of the regime is crumbling. It will not be long before it is over.

8:30pm: Al Jazeera obtains this recording of a phone call from a woman in Tripoli.

 

Whoever is in the streets, they are getting killed.

She tells us there are five or six fires raging around the city, gunfire was heard during the call to prayer. Her cousin, a doctor, was turned back on his way to the hospital - because doctors are being shot.

People are grabbing anything they can from their houses.

 

8:26pm: Libyan ambassador to the EU resigns, Al Jazeera Arabic reports.

8:23pm: This photo has been sent into us, claiming to show troops moving into Tripoli. As with several other online photos and videos posted in, there's no way to confirm its veracity, although we are receiving many reports of military and paramilitary presence in and around the capital.

8:16pm: Al Jazeera speaks to Libyan ambassador to Bangladesh, who does confirm his resignation.

8:13pm: Contrary to earlier reports, the Libyan ambassador to the UK has not resigned. Al Jazeera spoke to him - he confirmed he is still in charge as he "has work to do". He has, however, been summoned to the British Foreign Office.

7:56pm: Al Jazeera Arabic is speaking to a political activist in Tripoli, who tells us there are airstrikes "all over Tripoli".

There is death, fear - and women are crying everywhere.  The strikes are concentrated against areas that sent large number of protestors to the streets and there are cars full of foreign fighters firing on people.

He says at least 250 people were killed in the past 24 hours alone and is calling for international help.  He tells us Tripoli is "under siege by foreign fighters" - that water and electricity have been cut and there is a shortage of food and medical supplies.  "It is a genocide," he says.

7:45pm: The defected pilots reportedly tell Maltese officials they were based in Tripoli and ordered to attack protesters on the ground in Benghazi.  After seeing their fellow pilots begin the airstrikes, they diverted course toward Malta. If substantiated, this would appear to confirm the use of airstrikes against civilian protesters in cities around the country.

7:39pm: Karl Stagno-Novarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Malta, reports the pilots of the jet fighters that landed there are "senior colonels", who were ordered to bomb protesters. They refused and have defected to Malta, he said.

7:19pm: The EU Council of Foreign Ministers issues the following statement:

The Council condemns the ongoing repression against demonstrators in Libya and deplores the violence and death of civilians.  The Council calls for an immediate end to the use of force against protesters and for all parties to show restraint.  Freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully are human rights and fundamental freedoms of every human being which must be respected and protected.

7:16pm: The US Department of State warns citizens of the potential for "ongoing unrest" in Libya. They say:

Violent clashes between protesters and security forces continue throughout Libya, including in Tripoli.  Spontaneous demonstrations, violence, and looting are possible throughout the next several days.

7:12pm: A Libyan contact in Zuwarah tells us, via Skype:

I ask Libyans abroad to move and put pressure on the regime. I want each Libyan abroad to talk to each other and to take action. All mobiles are cut and all communications are shut down and we fear that at the time of Maghreb [sunset] that the situation will be getting worse - as we don't have weapons. We must be united, have faith, and we pray that tonight will pass safely.

7:09pm: Dutch ISP provider XS4ALL has set up an internet dial-up service for Libya.


Use your modem to dial +31205350535
username: xs4all
password: xs4all

7:05pm: The Libyan ambassador to Indonesia has also resigned, Al Jazeera Arabic reports.

6:52pm: The Libyan ambassador to the United Kingdom has resigned, alongside other embassy staff. They have joined demonstrators, Al Jazeera Arabic reported.

6:46pm: Al Jazeera, alonside specialist technical investigators, have pinpointed the source of its signal blockage to a Libyan intelligence agency building, south of the capital Tripoli. The network's website has also been blocked in the country, with Libyan users getting the message: "File does not exist" when they try to access it.

A spokesman for Al Jazeera said:

The media should be able to operate freely, so all interference with our work and our broadcast signal should cease forthwith.

6:42pm: Senior diplomatic sources tell Al Jazeera - on condition of confidentiality - that phones are being monitored and text messages jammed.  Nearly all embassies are evacuating non-essential staff, and all have been ordered by Libya's foreign ministry to close immediately - and to remain closed until Sunday. 

6:38pm: Venezuelan officials deny Gaddafi is on his way there.

6:34pm: Reuters reports British foreign secretary William Hague says Gaddafi "may be on his way to Venezuela". On the sidelines of the EU crisis talks, he reportedly said:

You asked me earlier about whether Colonel Gaddafi is in Venezuela - I have no information that says he is, but I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there at the moment.

6:30pm: Planes of the Libyan Air Force reportedly opening fire on protesters in central Tripoli. No way to confirm this currently - but we are getting many reports of chaos on the streets of the capital.

6:26pm: Further reports of live ammunition being used on protesters in Tripoli, with lots of tweets saying security forces are again driving cars around the city, shooting at everyone and everything.

Ahmed Elgazir, a human rights researcher, told Al Jazeera that Libya News Centre, an organisation based in Geneva, had received a call for help from a woman "witnessing the massacre" in progress, who called on a satellite phone after landlines were cut.

6:14pm: Our TV news channel shows scenes of jubilant protesters in Benghazi. Don't forget, you can tune in by clicking here.

And, if you're in the United States, you can Demand Al Jazeera on your cable provider

5:54pm: The London School of Economics - where Saif al-Islam Gaddafi attended university - says it is reviewing its links with Libya. The university says it has previously "delivered executive education programmes to Libyan officials, principally from the Economic Development Board". It has also received funding for scholarships in return for "advice given to the Libyan Investment Authority in London".

It is not expecting any further funds, the school says, but "intends to continue its work on democratisation in North Africa funded from other sources unrelated to the Libyan authorities".

5:50pm: Geneva-based Libyan News Network reports phones cut in Tripoli, amid "massacre" in Green Square. More details being sought.

5:40pm: Two civilian helicopters, followed by two Libyan fighter jets, have landed in Malta.  Only one of at least seven passengers are reported to be carrying passports. All passengers are currently being held by immigration officials. Al Jazeera's Karl Stagno-Novarra, reporting from Malta, says the Mediterranean island is preparing to be used as a base for evacuation of European citizens from Libya, one hour's flight away.

5:37pm: At EU crisis talks in Brussels, Alexander Stubb, Finland's foreign minister, tells Al Jazeera:

It is up to the leadership of Libya to listen to its people. And to be quite honest, listening people does not mean you should be using a machine gun.

5:25pm: Demonstrations in solidarity with anti-Gaddafi protesters have broken out at Libyan embassies and consulates around the world. Here are some photos sent to us from Malta:

 

 

5:10pm: The Egyptian Association for Human Rights is calling on the military to evacuate Egyptians from Libya, saying Seif Gaddafi's speech last night - during which he blamed "foreign forces" (among other elements) - threatened Egyptians in Libya.

5:07pm: Ahmad Jibreel, Libyan diplomat, tells Al Jazeera:

The minister of security has, by the way, joined too … He is currently in Benghazi - actually he is with the people, he is one of the people starting to fight the mercenaries and Gaddafi’s guards

4:58pm: A Libyan consul secretary, a translator and a receptionist have quit their jobs at the embassy in Stockholm. In a letter, they write:

We condemn the genocide of civilians taking place in Libya following their legitimate demands of life in dignity and without the despot Gadaffi's continued mismanagement and corruption.
 
We find the situation unbearable: we don't want to be passive when we see that people rise up against the tyrant despite the obvious risk that their blood is spilled. Therefore we resign in protest and urge others to make their voices heard.

Translator Sayed Jalabi adds:


It is because of what is happening in Libya. We believe that we can not continue working at an embassy, which stands for a regime that oppresses and mass-murdering people.

 

4:51pm: Gaddafi's security forces reportedly surround the home of Jumaa Al Ousta - general secretary of Libya's trade and industry chamber.  They are threatenening to burn it down, after he was critical of Gaddafi in an interview with Al Jazeera.

4:45pm: A White House official tells reporters President Obama's administration is "seeking clarification" from Libyan counterparts "as we continue to raise with them the need to avoid violence against peaceful protesters and to respect human rights".  Says they are analysing last night's speech by Saif Gaddafi "to see what possibilities it contains for meaningful reform".

4:40pm: Four helicopters reported to be circling Green/Martyrs' Square, where protesters have gathered in central Tripoli.

4:35pm: The World Economic Forum has suspended Seif Gaddafi from its Forum of Young Global Leaders group.

4:26pm: Medical sources report 18 South Korean workers were injured when gunmen attacked their company facility. Al Jazeera is seeking further information on the location of the shooting and industry - and current health - of the workers involved.

4:24pm: The death toll from clashes in Tripoli - today - has reached 61, report our colleagues at Al Jazeera Arabic.

4:21pm: Eyewitnesses report fire breaking out at a police station in Tripoli, while security forces loot banks and government organisations across the city

4:17pm: Reuters reports the Libyan justice minister has resigned in support of the protests. 

2:17pm: New video posted by YouTube user libya2011free and relayed via the Arab Revolution blog shows how the uprising in Libya has grown in recent days; this one apparently shows large protesters of Misrata, just 160 km to the east of Tripoli, celebrating:

1:47 pm This video posted yesterday on YouTube apparently shows the anti-government protesters in Green/Martyrs' Square in Tripoli last night:

1:19 pm The folks at Alive in Libya have posted another audio clip of a phone call from Tripoli overnight on Sunday. It confirms what we've been hearing: Protesters have burned, looted and destroyed a number of government buildings in the Libyan capital, including several police stations and "revolutionary committee" headquarters. 

"Every so often we get news that an area has fallen in the hands of the protesters," the man said.

After protesters briefly took the capital's central square, they were confronted by by cars and land cruisers whose passengers opened fire "like it was a war".

12:07 pm Reports from news agencies, Twitter - and witnesses speaking directly to Al Jazeera - are painting a picture of semi-chaos overnight in Tripoli. It appears that some protesters from nearby towns converged on the city, and thousands from the capital itself turned out as well. They were allowed to march to the central Green or Martyrs' Square, which they occupied briefly before being confronted by security forces and pro-Gaddafi protesters, who came out in force after a late-night speech by Saif al-Gaddafi, the leader's son.   

During the night, protesters have broken into and burned a number of government buildings, reportedly including: State television; the main courthouse; a large, centrally located bank; an intelligence agency building; at least two police stations - one in Souq Jamaa and one in Zawadahmany.

Here's video, apparently of the police station in Souq Jamaa on fire:

10:13 am Flickr user a7fadmokhtar - which means "grandchildren of Mukhtar" in Arabic; a reference to Libyan resistance hero Omar Mukhtar - posted yesterday what might have still be the only photographs yet to come out of Benghazi. You can view the photostream yourself.

7:48 am Rahma, an activist in Tripoli, spoke to Al Jazeera this morning about the speech given last night by Seif Gaddafi, the son of Libya's longtime leader. He described protesters as "thugs" and "druggies," but Rahma said that protests start peacefully until Gaddafi supporters "hassle" them and become violent.

Rahma's father, a US citizen who joined protests at the Libyan capital's main courthouse on Sunday, has been detained; she has not been able to make contact with him.

6:49 am Shortly after Seif Gaddafi, the son of Libya's longtime leader, warned in a Sunday-night speech that the country would descend into "civil war" if protests continued, a Libyan American spoke with his brother in Tripoli, who described - over the sound of heavy gunfire - the intense combat that has broken out in the capital, where anti-government protesters were attacked after taking the main square.

6:46 am A caller from Libya describes the forces that have shot at protesters in Tripoli's "Green Square" as "the special militia that is guarding Gaddafi".

2:00 am Picture from the streets shows Libyans watching Seif Gaddafi address the nation via @ammr

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1:50 am
Najla Abdurahman, a Libyan dissident, dissected Saif El Islam Gadaffi's address: 

He's threatening Libya and trying to play up on their fears. I don't think anyone in Libya who isn't close to the Gaddafi regime would buy anything he said. And even if there is any truth to what he said, I don't think it's any better than what the people of Libya have already been living with for the past 40 years. He promised that the country would spiral into civil war for the next 30 to 40 years, that the country's infrastructure would be ruined, hospitals and schools would no longer be functioning - but schools are already terrible, hospitals are already in bad condition.

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1:00 am:
Seif El Islam Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's son, is speaking live on Libyan state television. He says he will address the nation without a written speech, in the Libyan dialect.

He says the media has greatly exaggerated the events in Libya and claimed 14 people have died in Tripoli and 84 in Benghazi. Gaddafi said he regretted the deaths of civilians. He also said unions and Islamic groups are behind the protests and they are benefiting from the situation.

Translated snippets of his speech as he gives it are below:

"Citizens tried to attack the army and they were in a situation that was difficult. The army was not used to dealing with riots," he says.

"Libyan citizens died and this was a tragedy.

"There is a plot against Libya. People want to create a government in Benghazi and others want to have an Islamic emirate in Bayda. All these [people] have their own plots. Of course Arab media hyped this. The fault of the Libyan media is that it did not cover this.

Libya is not like Egypt, it is tribes and clans, it is not a society with parties. Everyone knows their duties and this may cause civil wars. 

Libya is not Tunisia and Egypt. Libya has oil - that has united the whole of Libya.

"I have to be honest with you. We are all armed, even the thugs and the unemployed. At this moment in time, tanks are driven about with civilians. In Bayda you have machine huns right in the middle of the city. Many arms have been stolen.

"No one will come to Libya or do any business with Libya.

"We will call for new media laws, civil rights, lift the stupid punishments, we will have a constitution... We will tomorrow create a new Libya. We can agree on a new national anthem, new flag, new Libya. Or be prepared for civil war. Forget about oil.

"The country will be divided like North and South Korea, we will see each other through a fence. You will wait in line for months for a visa.

"The Libyans who live in Europe and USA, their children go to school and they want you to fight. They are comfortable. They then want to come and rule us and Libya. They want us to kill each other then come, like in Iraq."

12:47 am: As the protests in Libya appear to be spreading to the capital, Tripoli, Libyans abroad are making their voices heard as well. Twitter users @shihabeldin  and @abuzaakouk posted this video from a solidarity rally in front of the White House in the US capital:

12:11 am: Libya's ambassador to China, Hussein Sadiq al Musrati, has just resigned on air with Al Jazeera Arabic. He called on the army to intervene, and has called all diplomatic staff to resign.

He made claims about a gunfight between Gaddafi's sons and also claimed that Gaddafi may have left Libya. Al Jazeera has no confirmation of these claims.

12:01 am: The European Union calls on Libya's government to refrain from using force against peaceful demonstrators and address its people's demands for reform.

February 20

11:59 pm: Lebanese officials say Libya is jamming Lebanese TV stations because of their reporting on the crackdown on protesters in the North African country.

11:54 pm: Further reports suggest the 500,000-strong Tuareg tribe in south Libya has heeded the call from the million-strong Warfala tribe to join the uprising.  Protesters in Ghat and Ubary, home to Libyan Tuareg clans are reportedly attacking government buildings and police stations.

11:25 pm Online reports claim remaining pro-Gaddafi militia in Benghazi, around the Elfedeel Bu Omar compound, "are being butchered by angry mobs".  It is impossible to verify the claims, though Al Jazeera has spoken with several people in the city who say protesters control the city, as security forces flee to the airport.

11:30 pm Al Jazeera spoke to one protester on the phone, amid noisy crowds, who summarised the scene in the capital, Tripoli:

About one hour ago, 1500 to 2,000 people gathered and they blocked all roads and they burned anything owned by the government on the way. They are now burning a picture of the president, which is why the noise is so loud and everybody's happy - there's a woman on the balcony singing and screaming and loving it. 

"We are in Tripoli, there are chants [directed at Gaddafi]: 'Where are you? Where are you? Come out if you're a man.' I believe we are heading toward Green Square, but to be honest, nobody controls these people and we are just going where we want.

"There are no police, no army, no security forces. Everything is blocked off by protesters - and, as we cross the town - where apartment buildings are filled with people who live here - we are picking people up on the way. Everybody has been waiting for this - and it's finally happening.

Al Jazeera asked if Gaddafi was trying to impose a curfew in the city.

"To be honest with you, no-one is listening to anything he says any more. Apparently, the son was meant to come out and give a speech - and everybody said, you know: '42 years too late, mate. It's not going to happen now, we're not going to listen to you, you better make your move.'

Among the crowd, we obviously have people here who are pro-government who are trying to spread rumours. Somebody will say: 'Al Jazeera just said that Gaddafi has run away from Libya,' and so everybody thinks: 'Okay, let's go home,' and then they make some calls and find it's just a marketing campaign or something just to make us go home.

But I don't think anyone's ready to go home. To be honest with you now, I don't think these people are after Gaddafi. More than anything else now, they're after blood."

Al Jazeera: How are protesters co-ordinating? Do you have access to social media networks or the internet?

There is no internet whatsoever - email can be downloaded to offline inboxes, but internet access is down. Skype was working earlier, but I think that has stopped working now.

"As I'm talking to you now, looking left and right, I can see someone is holding a sword, someone else a baseball bat, pieces of wood with nails in it...  People now are coming from the other side. I can see a lot of running right now. I'm not sure where they're headed. Wait, now I can see they are surrounding a car.  We have seen a lot of cars full of Gaddafi supporters driving round in recent days and shooting at random. Now the crowd of people is attacking the car, beating it."

10:30 pm Doctor tells Al Jazeera that mercenaries have reached Tripoli. He says that mercenaries opened fire on protesters, killing four people. He estimates that around 2000 people were demonstrating. He managed to escape.

10:05 pm
Libya TV says that Seif el Islam will address the nation tonight . Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, a commentator on Arab affairs and a prolific tweeter, will be tweeting throughout the address. Follow Sultan on twitter.

9:55 pm
Libyan envoy to Arab League quits and 'joins revolution' according to Al Jazeera Arabic. It is reported that he has resigned in protests in what he calls a massacre against the Libyan people

9:40 pm
  Mohamed, a doctor from Al Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, confirmed to Al Jazeera that members of the military had sided with the protesters.

We are still receiving serious injuries, I can confirm 13 deaths in our hospital. However, the good news is that people are cheering and celebrating outside after receiving news that the army is siding with the people ... but there is still a brigade that is against the demonstrators. For the past three days demonstrators have been shot at by this brigade, called Al-Sibyl brigade.

 
8:15 pm British foreign minister William Hague has spoken to Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the head of the "Gaddafi Human Rights Society".

Hague told Saif Gaddafi the Libyan government's actions "were unacceptable and would result in world-wide condemnation".  He added that the government should "embark on dialogue and implement reforms".

British foreign office also issued updated travel advice, recommending against all but essential travel to Libya, and called on all British nationals "without a pressing need to remain in the country" to leave - by commercial means.

8:05 pm Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker takes a look at the scale of the unrest in the country.



7:55 pm
"Anti-government protesters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi have reportedly seized army vehicles and weapons amid worsening turmoil in the African nation" - Read more here

7:34pm The Libyan appears to have blocked the Al Jazeera signal across the Arab Sat network. But both Al Jazeera English and Arabic appear to have been affected. If so, you can access Al Jazeera English by fixing the following settings:

Nilesat 7W :
Frequency: 12015 Vertical
FEC: 5/6
Symbol rate: 27500

or

Hotbird 13E:
Frequency: 11034 Vertical
FEC: 3/4
Symbol rate: 27500

6:55 pm
The cyber activist group/internet hacker group - Anonymous - released press statement that continues to circulate widely on the internet. The group issued a statement of solidarity with the Libyan people. "You are not alone. The world is once again watching. Your brothers and sisters are watching. Anonymous extends its arms to you in solidarity at your time of struggle. Together, we will achieve what you are fighting for and Mankind will be free at last" 

File 9221

 

6:40 pm The Libyan Youth Movement post this image (below) on the group's facebook page. The caption reads: "this is the al birka barracks in benghazi, the current last stand and scene of a massacre yesterday"

File 9201


6:30 pm
  Ahmed, a resident of Benghazi tells Al Jazeera that a lot of gun shots could be heard ... and "we cannot go back to what we were ... we were living in misery ... we hope we can finish it today in Benghazi"

5:45pm
Reports filtering in from the Reuters news agency that the Libyan consulate at the Hague in the Netherlands was set on fire by arsonists on Sunday. No one was hurt and the building was slightly damaged.

5:05 pm US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice tells NBC that the US is deeply concerned by the violence in Bahrain and Libya.


There's no place for violence against peaceful protesters ...what we're encouraging Bahrain and other governments in the region to do is to recognize that this is a yearning for change and reform that is not going to go away, that it needs to be respected and that they need to get ahead of it by leading rather than being pushed.

2:10 pm Here's a lengthy account provided by a 24-year-old student in Tripoli:

Here is what I know so far. In Zawiya reportedly two prisons were opened by anti-regime crowds, apparently because of low security there. I can confirm that the women's facility was opened. I also just found out that a friend's friend (male) who was imprisoned there was let out, so I guess that confirms the other.

The past few days in Trip have seen only pro-government events. Until yesterday, the biggest crowd was Thursday, when one of Q's sons and later Q himself showed up. On Friday, some of the Imams spoke against the protests and those 'who would corrupt the country and begin civil war.' Yesterday, from morning until about midnight, a crowd of easily one or two thousand people gathered in the green square. Several hundred, mostly young men, were on foot, while a few hundred cars packed with men and women continuously circled the square. Trucks would pull up periodically to distribute posters and green flags.

There was a music group leading chants and songs in favor of Q. Some of the chants were (translated) 'the people want ... colonel muammar', 'only god, muammar, and libya' and 'al-jazeera you fool, we want our leader, no one else'.

In the square, a strong security presence, including firetrucks in various positions, ambulances, and the occasional helicopter.

Yesterday, the ambulances turned on their sirens and participated in the parades and cheering. In the outskirts, increased military and traffic police stationed. As far as I can tell, there have not been true gunshots, only the sound of fireworks and noisemakers. Until last night, no violent clashes between security and the crowds, nor between anti- and pro- crowds, in the center of Tripoli (this excludes Zawiya). In fact, anti- crowds have yet to be seen at all.

The attitude in Tripoli contrasts starkly with that in the Easy. Many people in Tripoli do not believe that what is happening in the East is real, they either attribute it to the 'propaganda' of al-Jazeera (against which have been directed several slogans) or say that Egyptians and Tunisians have infiltrated the country, that 'real Libyans' wouldn't do such things. Historically, the two regions have not been great friends, and now whatever tension there was recently has been sharpening into open hate and disgust towards Eastern Libyans. Some people refer to them as 'Zionists and Israelis'.

Also, transportation cross-country has been mostly stopped. Planes and cars/buses no longer go to the East, and several foreign companies brought their employees to Tripoli.

1:41 pm An AudioBoo filed in the early hours this morning describes the ongoing fighting in Benghazi between protesters and security forces, the latter of whom are reportedly fighting from two compounds. An army barracks belonging to the "al-Fadheel" brigade was reportedly overrun by protesters on Saturday; this caller describes young men throwing "hand bombs" at the barracks.

He also provides another account of security forces using high-caliber, possibly anti-aircraft guns against protesters.

1:37 pm Here's an AudioBoo filed last night from Benghazi. "Things are getting pretty bad here," the caller says.

1:03 pm Libyans have set up a livestream, apparently from a laptop webcam, in Benghazi, the second-largest city in the country and the site of much of its protest activity and deadly violence. We've posted a permanent link at the top of this page.

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9:44 am Someone (we haven't been able to verify who yet) has created a shareable Google spreadsheet to track protesters who have died in Libya's unrest. They have taken their cue from a similar page set up to track people who have gone missing in Egypt's revolution:

File 9031

9:23 am British foreign secretary William Hague had strong words yesterday for the "unacceptable violence" in Libya. In videotaped remarks, he noted reports that security forces there are using heavy weaponry and have deployed a sniper unit against protesters:

"We want to make clear to the Libyan government that just because there aren't television cameras present at the scenes that are going on in Libya, that does not mean that the world is not watching, and that doesn't mean that the world is going to ignore the way in which protesters and demonstrators are treated." 

7:20 am Al Jazeera is speaking with a number of sources inside Libya, including Fathy Terbil, a lawyer who represents relatives of more than 1,000 people killed in an alleged 1996 "massacre" at Abu Salim jail in Tripoli. Terbil's arrest earlier in February helped ignite the ongoing protests.

Speaking with Al Jazeera via an Internet phone on Saturday, Terbil said there had been a "massacre" in Benghazi, the country's second-largest city. Security forces were using civilian cars without license places to drive about the city and open fire; dozens had been killed, perhaps hundreds.

"People here are living under very tough circumstances," Terbil said. Residents can't move about or drive their cars due to the random gunfire. Alleged mercenaries wearing yellow construction helmets - reported by numerous sources in the country - are roaming about and attacking protesters, he said. 

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7:01 am Here's our latest report on the deadly protests in Libya. Al Jazeera speaks with two witnesses in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, and summarizes events from around the country, utilizing citizen video that depicts violence being used against demonstrators: Gunfire from security forces, heavy-caliber shells and possible mercenaries:

1:14 am Ahmed, a Benghazi resident, told us: "Right now, the situation is even worse than earlier today. Shooting is going on until now. And at a nearby hospital, at least 150 people have been admitted, those injured and dead. As far as African mercenaries being seen in Benghazi, I have not seen any. But the military is all over the place."

1:03 am Mariam, a doctor speaking from a hospital in Benghazi, Libya tells Al Jazeera: "It's a massacre here. The military is shooting at all the protesters with live bullets, I've seen it happen with my own eyes. The military forces are everywhere, even from the hospital I work, we are not safe. There was an 8-year-old boy who died the other day from a gunshot to the head - what did he do to deserve this?"

February 19

10:00 pm As fresh violence grips Libya - there are claims that some of those cracking down on anti-government demonstrators are foreign mercenaries.

9:30 pm The events in Libya have sparked a show of solidarity in the US capital, Washington, DC, where protesters have rallied in front of the White House to call for an end to Gaddafi's rule. Photo by Reuters.

File 8926

9:00 pm Another eyewitness told Al Jazeera earlier that protesters are asking for their "human rights" and said security forces have used "excessive force".

8:30 pm A doctor from Benghazi told Al Jazeera that the Al Jalaa hospital where he works has received 15 bodies and is treating numerous people following the shootings at the funeral, calling the incident evidence of a "shoot-to-kill policy".

"This is not a well-equipped hospital and these injuries come in waves. All are very serious injuries, involving the head, the chest and the abdomen. They are bullet injuries from high-velocity rifles.

"All are civilians aged from 13 to 35, no police or military injuries," he said, adding that there was no way the wounds could have come from anyone other than security forces.

8:05 pm Libyan forces have reportedly opened fire at a funeral for protesters killed in the city of Benghazi, killing 15 people, witnesses tell Al Jazeera.

7:43 pm A resident of the eastern city of Benghazi makes a plea on Al Jazeera, saying hospitals in the city have been overwhelmed by the number of dead and injured.

7:00 pm  A video billed as the first footage of protests in the Libyan city of Mesrata has been posted, appearing to show demonstrators in the streets shouting "The people want a change in regime". We cannot confirm where or when this video was shot.

6:34 pm A resident of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, has just left this audio recording with the site @Feb17voices after surveying the situation there, where she says 10,000 prisoners have escaped from a prison after a riot. It is not possible for Al Jazeera to independently verify her report. Listen to it here.

"There are a few police cars outside, they're roaming around. There's security at the prison. Last night there was a release of 10,000 prisoners. We passed by and they closed off the whole street."

4:00 pm Making the rounds on Facebook is a protest video, featuring the music of Libyan rapper Ibn Thabit. The video compilation is described as a "personal effort by a son of Libya to take part in what is now becoming a change across the entire Arab world". Check it out on YouTube here.

1:10 pm  A source inside Benghazi tells Al Jazeera that the situation remains tense there today:

People woke up this morning with dozens of bodies and burnet vehicles in the streets. Snipers are still active in central Benghazi whilst other parts are completely liberated.

A funeral will go out from Al Jalaa Hospital and (perhaps) ... over 120 bodies are there. No details from other towns as mobile networks are very limited.

11:34 am The AP reports that Libyan "special forces" have stormed a protest encampent in Benghazi earlier today:

At 5:00 am on Saturday, special forces attacked hundreds of protesters, including lawyers and judges, camped out in front of the courthouse in the eastern city of Benghazi, which has been a focus for the anti-government
unrest.

'They fired tear gas on protesters in tents and cleared the areas after many fled carrying the dead and the injured,' one protester said over the phone from Benghazi. 'This is a ghost city; we are all afraid that something big is going to happen in Benghazi today.'

8:49 am Al Jazeera reports that protests have now taken place in Benghazi, Darnah, Baida, Ajabiya, Quba, Tobruk, Zentan, Tripoli, Tajoura and Shahhat, and that a police station was set on fire in Benghazi. The security headquarters in Darnah was also burned down.

8:17 am The AP news agency reports that the situation in Libya is worsening with an escalating crackdown that has sent "a stream" of bodies into hospitals and morgues.

The deaths took place in the city of Benghazi after funerals for more than a dozen protesters shot to death a day earlier. The doctor in Benghazi's al-Jalaa hospital said survivors of Friday's clashes said that after the burials, protesters tried to rally outside the Katiba, a military compound where Ghadafi stays when he visits.

Security forces inside the compound opened fire on protesters as they approached, the doctor said. Dead and wounded began flowing into the hospital's emergency ward in the afternoon, in groups of five or six, many with bullet wounds to the head or chest. He said he counted 35 bodies in an ICU unit used as a temporary morgue.

Al Jazeera has received footage of what appear to be one such makeshift morgue, but is unable to confirm where the material is from. Here are some still shots from the footage - note that the bodies are stored on the ground and in cupboards.

File 8761

File 8781

8:08 am Amid reports of protests outside court houses and police stations, Al Jazeera has found video of what appears to be a protest outside an official building, possibly a police station. They are shouting, "Oh, Benghazi, come see the oppressed people", and are shouting at the police stationed outside the building "Shame on you, you lied to us."

Al Jazeera cannot confirm when or where the video was taken.

7:41 am There are reports that the internet access continues to be shut down in Libya today. The AFP reports:

Internet service was cut off in Libya on Friday as the regime evidently moved to strip anti-government protestors of ways to organize and communicate, according to Arbor Networks. Libya "abruptly disconnected" from the Internet at 4:15 pm.(00:15 GMT Saturday), according to the US based tracker of online traffic. Internet traffic in and out of the country halted suddenly after being throttled earlier in the day, according to an Arbor Networks chart titled. 

5:50 am Human Rights Watch now says that Libyan Security forces have killed 84 people over three days Here's the breakdown they give on their site:

20 people in Benghazi, 23 in Baida, three in Ajdabiya, and three in Derna. Hospital sources told Human Rights Watch that security forces killed 35 people in Benghazi on February 18, almost all with live ammunition.

 

3:00 am A doctor in eastern Libya tells Al Jazeera that at least 70 people have been killed in the country since protests started.

1:00 am A blogger in Libya tells Al Jazeera that a large number of thugs armed with hammers and swords have stormed into central Benghazi. The blogger also received unconfirmed reports over the telephone that families were being killed and wounded in their own homes on Twenty Street.

12:54 am So many of the video and pictures coming out of Libya are delayed by hours, due to slow or non-existent Internet connections in the country. Here is a video of a mass of people gathered at a mosque in Benghazi earlier today:

12:12 am Most of our good information is coming out of Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and reportedly the site of some of its largest protests and worst violence. Here's a picture from earlier on Friday of a large protest crowd gathered outside a courthouse, where we now hear around 20,000 people are camped out near some army tanks, which are not taking any action:

File 8656

February 18

11:49 pm An AudioBoo report from Benghazi:

Man: The army came out, ok, it was with tanks and they're telling us, seven people, protesters, that they're with them, and they're here to protect them and everything else. But we hear other things; in some other places of the city, the army's shooting people, and also I heard that they're taking over the airport and there's some airplanes arriving with more army corps from outside, from the other cities.

I cannot confirm the airport thing, I cannot confirm it, I just heard it from you know people talking on the street now. But the army is now with protesters, they're standing with them, talking with them. But they're not saying why or who sent them or who controls them, they're not giving any information. Now I can say in some areas are quiet, in other areas there's an army base down in the middle of the city, there's a lot of gunfire two minutes ago. And people still trying to protest in front of it and the army has been shooting them.

11:48 pm Video posted on YouTube today by MeddiTV shows a "martyr's" funeral in Benghazi:

 

9:50 pm We've gotten our first English-language audio dispatch via the "Feb 17 Voices" list on Twitter, which is relaying AudioBoo clips from people calling from inside Libya. It comes from a young woman in Tripoli:

Woman: (Indecipherable) ...and they just broke us up. We were about 300 people, and the cops came and they started shooting gunfire at us. They arrested a couple people and we're now, everyone just broke off. We were running. Uh, we're heading to the car, we're trying to get escape. The cops have just broke us off. 

Questioner: What were you guys chanting?

Woman: Libya, al-sharg w al-gharb, Libya, al-sharq w al-gharb. (Libya, east and west.)

9:38 pm Around an hour ago, the White House put out a statement by US president Barack Obama, addressing unrest in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen:

I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur. We express our condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the demonstrations. Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly. The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people.

9:08 pm Some Twitter users have taken issue with our translator's interpretation of the video below, supposedly showing an injured man identifying himself as being sent by Khamis Gaddafi, one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons. Here is a translation provided by LibyaFeb17.com, which does not make any mention of the man's interrogators asking about his "color":

Camera man: Speak loudly! Who sent you?

Wounded man: Khamees

Camera man: Khamees who?

Wounded man: Khamees Mu’ammar

Camera man: Which Battalion?

Wounded man: Khamees

Camera man: Where are you from?

Wounded man: Tripoli

Camera man: Did you all hear him? You saw this by yourself.

(Another man out of shot): You killed us! Kill them!

Camera man: No! it’s not them it’s the dog who sent them here they’ve only been ordered!

**camera shifts to second injured/killed man**

(Another man out of shot): This is another from the pile of dogs that…

Camera man: Do you want to take him out and beat him up? Do you?

(Another man out of shot): No no..

Camera man: Then leave it.

8:20 pm Video posted on Facebook by a user named Ahmed Salem reportedly shows an injured man identifying himself as a combatant sent by Khamis Gaddafi, one of leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons and the commander of a unit within Libya's army. 

Our translator can't verify that the man identifies himself as such. According to our translation, those around the injured man are yelling at him to identify where he is and where he comes from. They repeatedly say, "Look at his color! Look at his color!" - implying that he is one of the rumored non-Libyan combatants sent in to fight protesters.

At one point, the man claims he is from Tripoli, but those around him do not appear to believe him. 

File 8576

7:58 pm Sources on the street in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the site of large protests, are now claiming that they have driven government militias away and taken control. These reports are primarily being fed through English-speaking Twitter users who are not in Libya themselves, such as @ShababLibya, @Cyrenaican, and @ChangeInLibya.

ShababLibya tweeted at 7:45: "#Benghazi protesters burnt down the radio station and taken the media and will make announcements shortly!! BREAKING URGENT #Libya"

Cyrenaican also provided a link to what he said was an Internet radio station that had been set up in Benghazi by the youth. It is currently broadcasting in Arabic. 

7:11 pm More reports of potentially very deadly fighting in Bayda. Aamir Saad, a political activist, claims that anti-government demonstrators in Bayda have "executed 50 African mercenaries" - presumably a reference to the government militias - and "two Libyan conspirators". Remember: Bayda is where protesters managed to regain hold of the city with the support of local police, according to Reuters. LibyaFeb17.com, an invaluable source of social media aggregation on the Libya protests, posted a translated version of the television interview given to Al Jazeera Arabic by Saad.

5:55 pm Al Jazeera speaks with Mohamed el-Berqawy, an engineer in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city. Berqawy describes a "massacre" going on in the city and makes an impassioned appeal to the Arab League and United States for international help:

4:54 pm Following up on news of death tolls in Libya. Al Jazeera online producer Evan Hill spoke with a doctor in Benghazi earlier this morning who cited two close friends - doctors in Benghazi and Bayda - who reported 14 and 25 deaths in those cities, respectively. The death toll in Libya seems likely to rise above the earlier count of 24, reported by Human Rights Watch.

4:40 pm YouTube user "analibyana" or "I am a Libyan" posted this compilation of footage of recent protests in Libya. Please be warned that it contains graphic images of the injured and possibly dead:

3:41 pm There is a fierce battle over the eastern Libyan city of Bayda, the Reuters news agency reports. Two Libyan exile opposition groups earlier claimed that that the city had been taken over by anti-government protesters who were joined by local police forces, but now it appears that government "militias" have been reinforced and are clashing with residents, who are fighting back "with any weapons they could find."

2:06 pm Deadly attacks on peaceful protests - that is what eyewitnesses are reporting from all over Libya. The country's "day of rage" has left at least 24 people dead, according to Human Rights Watch. Despite media restrictions in Libya, reports of protests and violence have emerged on the Internet. Many amateur videos have also been uploaded, which cannot be independently verified.

Al Jazeera's Caroline Malone reports:

12:16 pm Hassan El Amin, editor of the Libya Al Mostaqbal newspaper, talks live to Al Jazeera from London. He says that there are reports of 75 dead and hundreds injured in recent violence against protesters.

9:08 am BBC Radio, quoting an eyewitness, said protesters against leader Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade-long rule clashed with security forces, who were using guns, and that doctors had counted the bodies of 10 people.

8:31 am Thousands of anti-government protesters are on the streets of Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, a day after "day of rage" demonstrations led to fatal skirmishes with the security forces.

5:23 am In a statement on its website on Thursday, Human Rights Watch said Libyan security forces have killed at least 24 protesters and wounded many others in its crackdown on demonstrations. In the statement, Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said: "The security forces' vicious attacks on peaceful demonstrators lay bare the reality of Muammar Gaddafi's brutality when faced with any internal dissent."

You can read the whole statement here.

4:41 am Video footage posted on YouTube shows protesters in the city of Tubruq on Thursday tearing down a monument to Muammar Gaddafi's famous "Green Book." The Green Book outlines Gaddafi's sweeping political and social views.

Video posted by bluo85:

1:27 am The Euro-mediterranean Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED) released a statement on Thursday strongly condemning repression in Libya. The statement said:

Following the examples of Egyptians and Tunisians who manage to fall dictatorships with an exemplary movement, Libyans want today to exercise their right to express themselves freely and to demonstrate peacefully so they can express their claims.

FEMED reminds that the right for Libyans to express themselves through peaceful demonstrations is a basic right. In this country, where human rights are constantly infringed and freedom of expression almost non-existent, FEMED is fully supporting Libyans and Libyans organisations for the defence of human rights.

12:30 am Speaking to Al Jazeera on Thursday, Libyan ambassador to the United States Ali Suleiman Aujali said:

Libya is a free country, and people, they can say, can show their ideas, and the main thing is that it has to be in the frame of the law and it has to be peaceful, and that’s it.

When asked about allegations of people who have been killed, Aujali told Al Jazeera: “I’m really very busy here, and my business, and I have some delegations, and I don’t have time to follow up with every piece of news.”

He added: "I am confident that Libya will handle this issue with great respect for the people."

12:15 am Ayman Shurafa posted this picture on a social networking site:

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February 17

11:00 pm Al Jazeera reports that Libyan protesters defied tonight's crackdown:

10:46 pm Al Jazeera online producer Evan Hill reports that the Libyan government has allegedly threatened to withdraw scholarship funding from some of its citizens studying in the United States unless they attend pro-government rallies in Washington this weekend.

10:30 pm Check out a live, crowdsourced Google map of protests and events in Libya:

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10:00 pm The AFP news agency reported that clashes broke out in the city of Zentan, southwest of Tripoli, in which a number of government buildings were torched.

9:00 pm User Oya_libya tweets: if you are in #libya and can’t open youtube, use this DNS server 208.67.222.222 and 208.68.220.220

8:00 pm Abdulla Darrat, a Libyan American activist, told Al Jazeera that he is organising a mass Libyan solidarity rally in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Seattle this weekend.

7:00 pm Hundreds of young Egyptians have demonstrated outside the Libyan consulate in Alexandria. A statement signed by various political groups – including representatives of the January 25 youth movement – delivered a petition asking Libya to respect popular demand for change and to avoid using violence against protesters.

6:30 pm Al Jazeera's Jacqueline Head reports from a rally on the fringe of London's Hyde Park, near the Libyan embassy.

At the pro-Gaddafi camp, protesters waved the Libyan flag in front of large posters of their leader and banners praising his adminstration:

File 8296
Photo by Jacqueline Head

Ibrahim, a 39-year-old lecturer from Libya, told Al Jazeera that he was there to "protect" his country.

"What's happened in Tunisia and Egypt is a different situation to Libya," he said. "Libya is a peaceful country and we are just living as one nation."

Closeby, another group of protesters held placards reading "Get out." Abdulnasser Ashukr, from Beghazi, told Al Jazeera that he came to support people back Libya.

"We have one message to Gaddafi and his regime: It's time for you to go," he said. "There is no other way. It's done. The Libyan people have decided, and they want you out of the country."

Mohamed Abdulmalek, chairman of Libya Watch, a human rights organisation, told Al Jazeera that he believed there would be a lot of casualties in Libya and wanted the international community to stand against Gaddafi's government.

"We condemn the brutal use of force in Libya, which the European Union and America and other countries have called upon Libya not to use, but the Libyan state knows no other language.

"They have threatened to use live bullets against citizens. They have even threatened young people to close their Facebook accounts. They have also threatened the heads of tribes," he said.

File 8316
Photo by Jacqueline Head

6:00 pm Abdullah, an eyewitness in Benghazi, told Al Jazeera that he saw six unarmed protesters shot dead by police. He also claimed that the government released 30 people from jail, paying and arming them to fight people in the street.

5:30 pm Several hundred supporters of Muammar Gaddafi, as well as the leader himself, have reportedly gathered in the capital, Tripoli, to counter online calls for anti-government protests.

5:15 pm The AFP news agency reported that six people have been killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in the coastal city of Benghazi, according to opposition websites.

4:15 pm The AP news agency reports that at least 14 demonstrators have been killed in clashes with pro-government groups since Wednesday.

9:30 am Another video from Bayda posted on YouTube by user MeddiTV:


9:00 am If you are in Libya and have witnessed protests, please send your pictures and videos to yourmedia@aljazeera.net and sharek@aljazeera.net.

6:00 am Libya is set for a "day of rage," as the wave of popular unrest that swept away the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents spreads to the oil-exporting north African country ruled by leader Muammer Gaddafi since 1969.

5:59 am Protesters clash with police in Benghazi:



5:58 am
At least two people have been killed in clashes between Libyan security forces and demonstrators in the town of Bayda, east of Benghazi, the second-largest city, as activists plan major anti-government 'day of rage' protests throughout the country on Thursday.

"All the people of Bayda are out on the streets," said 25-year-old Rabie al-Messrati, who said he had been arrested after spreading a call for protests on Facebook.

 

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