Live Blog - Libya Feb 23
As the uprising in Libya enters its tenth day, we keep you updated on the developing situation from our headquarters in Doha, Qatar.
(All times are local in Libya GMT+2)
February 23, 2011
11.59pm: We continue our 24-hour Live blog here.
11.49pm: Britain's foreign office came under fire after two planes scheduled to bring back nationals stranded in Libya remained grounded on Wednesday, eight hours after they were due to depart for Tripoli.
11.32pm: The UN leader welcomed moves by the UN Human Rights Council to set up a "possible international inquiry into events in Libya."
11.25pm: The UN secretary general warned that Libya was now at a dangerous juncture. The "current situation is unpredictable and could go in any number of directions, many of them dangerous," Ban Ki-Moon told a press conference.
11.16pm: Some of the 3, 000 Turks who had taken refuge at a sports stadium in Benghazi have been able to evacuate the country on a ferry. But there are still at least 20, 000 Turkish nationals remaining inside the north African state.
11.11pm: UN head, Ban Ki-Moon, makes a statement on Libya, saying the international community needs to speak with one voice.
11.07pm: US president Barack Obama is expected to speak at 22.15GMT (12.15am Libyan local time). Watch Al Jazeera's Live coverage here.
"We will be looking for tougher language from president Obama on this issue," Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane said from Washington.
11.01pm: "Life is normal, the ports, schools and airports are all open. The problem lies in the eastern regions," Saif Gaddafi told Libyan television while touring the station's offices.
"Life is normal ... Brothers, Libyans should come together in this national battle," he said.
10.54pm: Gaddafi will play a major role in any regime formed in Libya, but new blood will need to take over direct control and introduce reform, Saadi Gaddafi, a son of the embattled leader told the Financial Times (FT).
He also said his brother Saif Gaddafi was working on a new constitution and would make an announcement soon; but he gave no further details, the FT said.
10.42pm: Antonio Patriota, Brazil's foreign minister, expressed great concern about the situation in Libya, but added that it was "a positive thing" that there has not yet been any violence directed at foreigners in the country.
10.38pm: More than 2, 000 people have been killed in Benghazi alone over the past few days, a French doctor told Le Point Magazine. The doctor also said that those attacking anti-government protesters included foreign mercenaries from Chad and Niger.
10.36pm: The Red Crescent said on Wednesday that more than 5,700 Tunisians and Libyans had fled across the border over the past two days. Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri filed this report from Tunisia:
10.29pm: Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane in Washington said about Clinton's statements on Libya:
We arent seeing any real increase in the tone and rhetoric [from the US]
10.27pm: "We have joined with the international community to speak with one voice," Hillary Clinton said about the events in Libya. She called the situation in Libya "fluid and uncertain," but saying:
This is the moment for the international community to act together.. in sending a clear message to the Libyan government that violence is not acceptable and that the Libyan government will be held accountable for the steps it is taking.
10.25pm: Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, at a press conference in Washington DC again condemned the violence in Libya. She also urged US citizens to leave the country as soon as possible.
10.14pm: Al Jazeera has a copy of the doctoral dissertation of Saif Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi's son. The dissertation, on "The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions" was submitted to the London School of Economics in 2007.
On page 21, Saif Gaddafi writes:
[I] emphasise the importance of designing global governance to minimise the risks of totalitarian and authoritarian structures.
This week, he made statements saying "we will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet," adamant that neither he nor his father would cease power.
Since Saif Gaddafi's speech, LSE has said it is reviewing its links with Libya. Read the full dissertation here.
10.02pm: The Associates Press reported Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez saying "some North American politicians and media groups are inciting violence, military aggression and foreign intervention [in Libya]".
Rodriguez says he hopes for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
9.52pm: Austrian Airlines said it would, for now, suspend its six weekly flights between Vienna and Tripoli in view of the uprising in Libya.
9.41pm: Twitter user @Ghadeer1991 posted this cartoon of Gaddafi's speech to Twitpic:
9.27pm: Rights group, Amnesty International, has launched a petition to the US president and the US representative to the UN, calling for immediate action against the attrocities taking place in Libya.
The petition states:
Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi and his government appear to be prepared to kill an unlimited number of people to stay in power.
The international community should act now to put a stop to the bloodshed.
To read more, and to sign the petition, click here.
9.17pm: Here is an updated report from Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee about the day's happenings in Libya:
9.10pm: Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler, reporting from the United Nations in New York, said there will probably be an eventual outcome from international calls for UN action against Libya, even though it may take some time.
The UN Human Rights Commission will meet on Friday to review a draft resolution calling for an investigation into the events in Libya. "But there are disagreements about the actual wording of that draft resolution," Heidler said.
9.05pm: The capital Tripoli is said to be in virtual lockdown and there are reportedly pro-Gaddafi militia-men roaming the streets. Meanwhile Benghazi, Tobruk, Derna and other cities now celebrating having liberated themselves from Gaddafi.
8.58pm: UK prime minister, David Cameron, renewed his condemnation for the violence taking place in Libya.
"We've been very clear with respect to Libya that what is happening there is unacceptable, that the use of violence against their own people ... is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to stand,"he said on Wednesday.
8.55pm: A speak2tweet message posted on the site Alive in Libya claimed that young people have taken control of the city of Kufra. The English translation of the message is:
Greetings this is an urgent message from Kufra. Young people have taken complete control of the city, they hoisted the flag of Libya and Gaddafi down the flag. Dozens of Chadian families head to the southern border.
Listen to the original message (in Arabic) here.
Al Jazeera cannot confirm the authenticity of material posted on external sites.
8.44pm: Amidst the uprisings in oil-rich Libya, US crude oil futures hit $100 a barrel on Wednesday for the first time since 2008.
8.38pm: Al Jazeera's Harry Smith, reporting from Rome, said that Mediterranean countries concerned about the influx of migrants into Europe want help from the rest of the region. "They say it is a problem Europe should deal with as a whole," Smith said. Italy has predicted the potential refugee problem could assume "biblical proportions" if Gaddafi steps down.
8.30pm: Turkey has 25,000 nationals in Libya and the country is launching the biggest evacuation operation in its history.
8.26pm: Foreign countries continue to evacuate their citizens from Libya using varied modes of transportation. France and Russia have sent planes, the UK has sent a warship and planes, the US has sent a ferry from Malta and China has sent jets, ships and fishing vessels.
8.19pm: "I strongly condemn the violence, aggression and intimidation against demonstrators in Libya," European Union President Herman Van Rompuy said on Wednesday in Bulgaria, urging an end to the use of force.
8.15pm: The White House says president Barack Obama `"strongly condemns'' the bloodshed in Libya. Obama is expected to speak later on Wednesday or Thursday to address the situation.
8.10pm: The US will consider possibly freezing assets belonging to the Libyan government and Gaddafi as it weighs its response to Libya's political crisis but no decision has been taken yet, the state department said.
8.06pm: A source in the Janzour district in east Tripoli spoke to Al Jazeera and said there were plain clothed men with swords in the streets. She said her family had barricaded their front door with couches and furniture, to try and prevent them breaking in. The source reported hearing "booming sounds in the near distance," which she thought were doors being broken down at other houses.
7.57pm: A source speaking to Al Jazeera from the outskirts of Tripoli, said that a number of tanks and cars carrying gun-weilding Gaddafi-supporters were in the Tajura district of the capital, heading towards the city center.
7.51pm: Reuters reports that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will allow 300 Palestinians in Libya to enter the Palestinian territories in the coming days.
7.48pm: PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesperson, says the country is looking at using "a full range of tools," including possible sanctions, on Libya, news agency Reuters reports.
7.46pm: Key towns and cities in Libya are under protester-control, including Benghazi and Tobruk. International media organisations, including Al Jazeera, are now able to broadcast Live pictures from these cities. Here is a screen shot of footage we were able to get today:
Stay tuned to our live TV feed for reports and analysis. If you're in the UK, we're available on Freeview, and if you're in the US, don't forget you can Demand Al Jazeera from your local cable provider.
7.37pm: The African Union released a statement condemning "the disproportionate use of force against civilians" in Libya and expressed regret at the loss of life there, news agency AFP reports.
7.32pm: Libya's deputy foreign minister, Khaled Khaim, told EU ambassadors in Tripoli that Al-Qaeda had set up an Islamic emirate in Derna, led by a former US prisoner at Guantanamo Bay named Abdelkarim al-Hasadi.
Residents in Derna rejected the claims, saying Khaim's words were "something to scare Europe with".
7.24pm: European Union governments agreed to prepare possible sanctions on Libya in response to Gaddafi's violent crackdown on anti-government protests, EU diplomats told the Reuters news agency.
The measures could include visa bans, asset freezes, an arms embargo and other restrictions, Reuters said.
7.16pm: Libya witnessed another day of chaos, following Gaddafi's defiant 75-minute speech on Tuesday. Al Jazeera's Lawrence Lee has this report:
7.04pm: Malta has turned back the unscheduled flight that was carrying Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha Gaddafi. The plane is said to be headed back to Libya, Cal Perry reports from Valletta.
6.55pm: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, tells the Associated Press that if reports of aerial attacks against civilians turn out to be true, the international community may need to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.
Peru had previously called for the UN to establish a no-fly zone overthe country.
6.45pm: Nour Al Masmari, former head of Gaddafi protocol, tells Al Jazeera he resigned because it was the "human" thing to do following the Libyan leader's actions, which he called "genocide". Masmari said "it is the end of it" adding:
Now [Gaddafi] is using mercinaries, not because he wants to use them but because he cannot use the army. He cannot use the armed forces of Libya because they are Libyans and they are faithful and honest people. They cannot kill themselves. and killing their cousins and uncles and friends means they are killing themselves. So he doesnt trust them. He doesnt even trust his own guard.
6.40pm: Three workers at Libya's embassy in Sweden resign in protest of government crackdown, the Associated Press reports.
6.34pm: At least 640 people have been killed since the protests began, the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR) says. This figure is more than double the official Libyan government toll of 300 dead.
6.30pm: Former justice minister Mustapha Abdeljalil told the Swedish newspaper Expressen that Muammar Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, the paper reported on its website.
"I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order on Lockerbie," said the minister, who stepped down Monday to protest the ongoing violence in Libya.
6.27pm: At least three oil cargoes have left Libyan ports in the past 24 hours despite a revolt against Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade rule, trade and shipping sources said.
6.25pm: Carlos Latuff, a provocative cartoonist who often focuses on Arab and Arab-Israeli politics, has posted this image on Twitpic:
6.20pm: Qatar's ambassador to Libya has left the country, a Libyan foreign ministry official said on state television.
6.15pm: A private Libyan jet that was prevented from landing at Beirut's airport was carrying on board the wife of one of Gaddafi's sons, Voice of Lebanon radio reported Wednesday.
Several Libyan regime figures could have been among the plane's passengers, the radio station said.
6.10pm: Government sources say Muammar Gaddafi's daughter was on board the National Libyan Airlines plane that tried to land in Malta on Thursday, Al Jazeera's Cal Perrry reports from Valletta.
5.52pm: Hussein Muserati, a former Libyan diplomat who recently resigned told Al Jazeera the uprising was a revolt by people "suffering from poverty, injustice and corruption". Muserati added:
We do not oppose [Gaddafi] in person, we oppose his policies, his injustices, his tyrany, because now, as far as we are concerned, it represents facism. It represents a policy like Hitler's policy.. killing innocent people and violating all sanctities of Libyan people
5.41pm: The European commission estimates that some 10, 000 EU citizens are awaiting evacuation from Libya.
5.34pm: Italy predicts that some 300, 000 Libyans could flee to Europe "if" Gaddafi falls. The country and five other European nations are trying to prepare for that possibility. They are gathered in Rome to work out a consolidated response if Gaddafi falls.
On Thursday, all 27 interior ministers and justice ministers from the EU also plan to meet, Al Jazeera's Harry Smith said.
5.25pm: A National Libyan Airline plane is circling the airspace off the coast of Malta, Al Jazeera's Cal Perry reports from Valletta. "The plane is saying they are running out of fuel and need to land .. they are negotiating with the runway about landing," Perry says.
But soldiers have been deployed and authorities are "nervous" about what could be on board the plane, he adds.
5.18pm: Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid reports from Tobruk, around 140km west of the border with Egypt.
4.50pm: The International Criminal Court says it cannot investigate crimes in Libya unless the country's authorities accept the court's jurisdiction or the UN Security Council refers the situation to the ICC
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC issued this statement:
The decision to do justice in Libya should be taken by the Libyan people. Currently, Libya is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. Therefore, intervention by the ICC on the alleged crimes committed in Libya can occur only if the Libyan authorities accept the jurisdiction of the Court, (through article 12(3) of the Rome Statute). In the absence of such step, the United Nations Security Council can decide to refer the situation to the Court. The Office of the Prosecutor will act only after either decision is taken".
4.40pm: The UK foreign minister says that Libyans who violate human rights should be held to account, news agency Reuters reports.
4.27pm: A Libyan airforce plane has crashed near Benghazi after the crew bailed out, the country's Quryna Newspaper reports. The newspaper said the crew had orders to bomb Benghazi, but refused to carry them out.
A former general in the Libyan army confirmed to Al Jazeera that the crew ejected their aircraft after refusing to bomb protesters.
4.17pm: Major General Suleiman Mahmoud, a commander in Libyan army in Tobruk, is now on the side of the Libyan people. He called Gaddafi "a tyrant" and told Al Jazeera "the people in the army are steadfast" in the city.
4.10pm: Italy is increasingly concerned about the exodus of immigrants from Libya that could be heading towards Europe. This comes as the interior ministers from six nations - France, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Italy - plan to meet.
4.03pm: More from Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid in Tobruk. She reported seeing hundreds of Egyptians fleeing Libya with everything they own. "People are still very scared, especially after Gaddafi's speech, and thought it best to leave the country now," she said.
3.59pm: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose security forces crushed protests against him in 2009, condemned state brutality against protesters in Libya. He said on Wednesday:
How can a leader subject his own people to a shower of machine-guns, tanks and bombs? How can a leader bomb his own people, and afterwards say 'I will kill anyone who says anything?'
3.51pm: Italy's foreign ministry has said attempts to crush a revolt against Gaddafi's four-decade rule have killed as many as 1,000 people in Libya.
3.41pm: Libyan protesters claim to have taken over Misurata, which would be the largest city in the western half in the country to fall into their hands, news agency AP reports. There are reports that six people were killed and 200 were injured in fighting there.
Libyans told AFP that the anti-Gaddafi movement was in firm control from the Egyptian border through Tobruk and Libya's second city Benghazi until Ajdabiya, further west along the coast.
3.38pm: This is the first time that the changes sweeping the Arab world have hit a major oil producer and there are now fears that the spike in oil prices could hurt the fragile global economy.
Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer filed this report:
3.36pm: German oil firm Wintershall said it had stopped oil production in Libya due to the security situation in the violence-hit country.
3.27pm: As much as a quarter of Libyan oil output has been shut down, the Reuters news agency reports. Libya produces almost 2 per cent of the world's oil.
3.19pm: Off the coast of Malta, ships are patrolling following reports of Libyan vessels in the area. It is unclear whether these Libyan vessels are potential defectors, or if they are Gaddafi's navy ships, Al Jazeera's Cal Perry said from Valletta.
3.16pm: Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reporting from the Egypt-Libya border says roughly 20, 000 have already crossed over the main land terminal between the two countries, carry many things including luggage, satellite dishes and washing machines.
2.55pm: There were no security forces present in Tobruk and it has been quite calm in the cities of Bayda and Benghazi on Wednesday, Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid said from Tobruk. But militia are still said to be roaming the streets in some cities.
2:23pm We're now broadcasting live from inside Libya; specifically, from the eastern city of Tobruk, which we hear is under protester control. Our footage shows an anti-Gaddafi rally, with people holding "Free Libya" signs.
2:08pm A contact with friends and family in Libya has set up a YouTube channel to pass on videos from the troubled country. One is particularly interesting, because it appears to show clear footage of a Chinook transport helicopter flying over what we've been told is Jomhouriya Street in Tripoli. Separate witnesses have reported that armed troops, possible the "mercenaries," have been moving about the capital using such helicopters.
1:55pm The European reaction to Libya begins to get stronger: Following on the French president's call for EU sanctions, UK prime minister David Cameron has said he wants to see a full UN security council resolution regarding the bloody violence in Libya, the Reuters news agency reports.
1:46pm A British oil worker stranded with others in a camp in eastern Libya has called on his government to rescue them from a "nightmare" scenario. James Coyle told the BBC that he and around 300 other Britons, Germans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Austrians and Romanians were stranded at the desert camp with only enough food and water to "maybe" last one day.
Residents of nearby towns armed with AK-47s have come to the camp multiple times to take supplies, he said.
"They've looted ... the German camp next door, they've taken all their vehicles, all our vehicles ... everything. So we are here desperate for the British government to come and get us," Coyle said.
1:25pm The Wall Street Journal newspaper has weighed in on Libya with a fiery editorial that argues the West should be asserting itself more forcefully to end Gaddafi's 42-year reign, beginning by offering humanitarian aid to protesters and enforcing a no-fly zone in the country and extending to threatening to bomb Libyan airfields and arming the protesters.
1:08pm Al Jazeera's Harry Smith reports from Rome on the Italian and European reaction to the revolt in Libya. We've already heard the foreign ministers remarks (see below). Smith says a council of six nations, including France, Spain, Malta, Cyprus and Greece, will be meeting soon in Italy to discuss the increased flow of emigrants into Europe from northern African nations; Libya has put another huge problem on their plate.
Smith also says that the direct oil pipeline between Libya and Italy - the so-called "Green Stream" - has completely "dried up".
12:56pm More video paints a frightening portrait of Tripoli at night these days, with armed troops - allegedly "mercenaries" who open fire freely on anyone outside - enforcing some kind of deadly curfew:
12:35pm Martin Chulov is a reporter for the Guardian newspaper tweeting from Benghazi. Here's what he's reported in the past hour:
Amazing scenes in yard of ransacked police hq in benghazi. Massive armoury looted from barracks by defecting troops. #libya
Camp site set up at benghazi. Large anti-ghadaffi demo here. Effigies of him hanging from looted govt buildings.
Old independence flag still flying above looted and scorched court house in central benghazi. #libya,#feb17.
12:11pm Around 20,000 people left Libya last night through the Salloum crossing with Egypt, Jamal Elshayyal reports today from the border, citing Egyptian military sources.
The border, which Jamal said was "almost a free-for-all" yesterday, is now under tighter Egyptian military control, at least on the Egypt side. Soldiers appear only to be allowing medical supplies into Libya, he said.
It's a rough time for Egypt to deal with a refugee crisis, since the country remains in flux following the uprising that ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak.
11:58am French president Nicolas Sarkozy has echoed statements made earlier by his top diplomatic adviser. He has called for the European Union to adopt "swift and concrete sanctions" and suspend economic and financial relations with Libya, according to the AFP news agency.
11:40am @iyad_elbaghdadi, who has been tweeting often about Libya, says state television there is reporting that Gaddafi called Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi yesterday.
11:30am WikiLeaks has released at least three US diplomatic cables relating to Libya in the past 24 hours. Two appear on the WikiLeaks website:
LIBYA'S SUCCESSION MUDDLED AS THE AL-QADHAFI CHILDREN CONDUCT INTERNECINE WARFARE (March 9, 2009)
BLACK SHEEP MADE GOOD? SAADI AL-QADHAFI'S EXPORT FREE ZONE IN WESTERN LIBYA (March 3, 2009)
One was released only to the Norwegian Aftenposten newspaper:
SAIF AL-ISLAM'S STAFF REACHES OUT ON POL-MIL ISSUES (December 14, 2009)
11:26am Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, has described reports that 1,000 civilians have died over the past 10 days of revolt as "credible," according to the Reuters news agency. He also said that the eastern province of Cyrenaica, as we've heard for days on Twitter, is no longer in Gaddafi's control.
11:14am Jean-David Levitte, the top diplomatic adviser to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, said today that European nations should consider imposing sanctions on Libya, including travel bans and asset freezes, according to the Reuters news agency. Many nations have been reticent to discuss sanctioning Libya while Gaddafi remains in control of armed forces, fearing for the safety of citizens still in the country, analyst have said.
11:12am Al Jazeera has learned that two Serbian Boeing 737 jets have just taken off from Tripoli to evacuate around 300 Serbian citizens from Libya. They will land in Belgrade around 1 pm local time.
10:58am Recently posted videos give a sense of what it's like in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, during recent nights. Protesters attempt to mass in small groups in disparate neighbourhoods around the city and march toward Green Square, where they're confronted by armed security forces using live fire. In the first video, the protesters chant "The Libyans are here! Here, here, here!" and then "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet!"
10:46am Al Jazeera's Jane Dutton interviewed Ali Ojli, the Libyan ambassador to the United States. He said that he and his staff had decided to condemn the "massacres" of innocent civilians occurring in his country, but he declined to call Gaddafi's response a "genocide" and said he had not resigned:
10:30am The Network of Free Ulema in Libya, a group of religious scholars, say that they endorse and fully support the "new Libyan government" - this refers to a "Declarations of the Revolution of February 17, that was announced on Al Jazeera by Dr al-Tarhuni, a spokesperson for the group.
They say that the "new government" has been endorsed by all the judges and lawyers in the eastern region, and they are calling for a "sovereign, independant Libya with a capital in Tripoli." Al Jazeera is trying to get more details on these statements.
10:14am Youssef Sawani, a senior aide to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader, has resigned to protest against the violence sweeping the country, the aide said.
I resigned from the Gaddafi Foundation on Sunday to express dismay against violence.
10:06am Kharey, a guest speaking from the Libyan city of Benghazi, speaks now to Al Jazeera:
Credit must go to the youth of Libya who are leading this revolution.
9:31am Libya's vast oil wealth (it exports 1.54 million barrels a day) has enabled the country's state-owned Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company SA, or Lafico, to put large sums into a variety of international businesses, including Italy's famed, 114-year-old football club Juventus.
Libya owns 7.5 per cent of the club - worth $17.5 million, the second-largest stake - according to the Bloomberg news agency.
Lafico has owned a stake in Juventus since the club floated in 2001. (Spokesman Marco) Re said it was partly for financial reasons and also because one of the Libyan leader’s sons, Al-Saadi Qaddafi, is a fan of the Turin-based team.
Perhaps predictably, calls to Lafico's Tripoli office went unanswered.
9:20am As of last count, there are at least four satirical Gaddafi Twitter accounts in operation: @MuammarLGaddafi, @MuammarGaddafi1, @AlQathafy and @TheRealColonel. If making fun of the situation in Libya strikes you as cold-hearted, keep in mind that Egyptians have used dark humour before, during and after their revolt both to undermine the country's repressive leadership and to buoy their own spirits.
Some selections from Gaddafi's Twitter doppelgangers:
@TheRealColonel: #neverwilli quit! Never! I don't care how long the queue is for Space Mountain, I'm not going to miss this ride!
@MuammarLGaddafi: I have multiple positions open! Send resume to (firstname.lastname@example.org)
@MuammarGaddafi1: keeping you updated of my tweets in Libya. Beautiful day in the streets minus these nagging people
@AlQathafy: Give me 42 more years & I'll prove you all wrong #Lybia #Libia #Feb17 #Gadafi #Kadhafi
9:09am Australia's ABC Radio phoned a man named Abdul in Tripoli this morning. He described "Black Africans" in army clothes driving around in jeeps; jets and helicopters circling the city (but not dropping bombs); and regime backers distributing guns to anyone who said they supported Gaddafi:
8:41am Regarding those screengrabs below, they apparently come from this rare video that has emerged of yellow-hard-hatted regime backers apparently rampaging through a Libyan city. According to YouTube user Muttardi, who posted the video, these are "mercenaries" attacking in Benghazi on Thursday. The screams of terrified onlookers are chilling:
8:38am Sultan Al Qassemi, a UAE-based columnist and prolific Twitter user, has tweeted images grabbed from our sister station Al Jazeera Arabic apparently showing rare images of street battles between security forces - he calls them "mercenaries" - and civilians:
8:32am Around 3,000 Turkish citizens boarded two Seacat ferries docked at the eastern city of Benghazi early on Wednesday, according to the Reuters news agency. The Orhan Gazi ferry left at 3:30 am with 1,500 and the Osman Gazi left an hour and a half later with another 1,500.
Around 20,000 Turks remain in Libya.
8:19am @AbdulHamidAhmad, the editor in chief of Gulf News, tweets:
Libyan Interior Minister Abdel Fattah Younes has been reportedly kidnapped in Benghazi after he had resigned to join protesters.
@CNNValencia, the journalist Nick Valencia, follows up:
BREAKING- State Media: Libya's interior minister who resigned to support anti-govt protesters has been kidnapped #CNN
8:10am Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, on the Tunisian border with Libya, reports that the situation remains uncertain and tense. Around 10,000 Tunisians have left Libya so far, and military commanders on the Tunisian side are quizzing emigrants about events inside Libya, asking those leaving questions such as whether there are any tanks on the road.
7:51am Al Jazeera's Omar el-Salah wraps up the Libyan regime's first press conference since the revolt began, in which high-ranking officials accuse Qatar and Al Jazeera of spreading lies and teaming up with high-paid Libyan and Egyptian "sheikhs" to foment the unrest:
7:41am Latin American leaders who have long been friendly with Gaddafi - such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro - are being noticeably silent on the revolt in Libya and its violent suppression, Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman notes. Though Castro has suggested NATO might be planning an invasion of Libya, neither he nor Chavez has gone as far as Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega and offered actual support for Gaddafi.
7:35am Most of the Libyans coming into Egypt through the crossing at the town of Salloum are from Benghazi, Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid reports from the border. The level of anxiety in that town has increased after Gaddafi's Tuesday-night speech, which many took as an indication that violence will increase.
7:32am More evidence of the spread of the uprising in Libya; this video shows protesters bringing down Gaddafi's Green Book in Misrata, around 175km east of the capital, Tripoli:
7:25am Our colleague Azad Essa wrote on Monday that anti-government movements in sub-Saharan Africa were being ignored at the expense of uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya (not to mention elsewhere in the Arab world). It does seem that the protests sweeping across northern Africa are having knock-on effect among southern neighbors; @SaeedCNN tweets:
#Cameroon plans "Egypt-like protests" today. They're calling on Prez Paul Biya to step down. He's been in power for almost 30 yrs
7:21am @LibyaCyrenaica tweets:
JUST IN: News of approx. 300 prisoners found in underground cells at Al Fadhel Bu Omar Barracks in Benghazi today #Libya
7:11am Libyan students in the United States are free to protest however they wish and will not have their scholarships affected if they decline to attend pro-Gaddafi rallies, the Libyan embassy has said. The announcement comes in reaction to a story our colleague Evan Hill published on Thursday that aired allegations from Libyan students that they were being coerced by the embassy.
The announcement came in a letter dated Saturday but emailed to students on Sunday from Dr. Basil al-Aishi, an employee of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, which administers the Libyan study-abroad program, as well as those for other countries.
Aishi told students that reports in the media - presumably ours - were wrong, "far from the truth," and meant to stir up discord among Libyan students in the United States. He says that the embassy had nothing to do with pro-Gaddafi protests that had been arranged in Washington DC this past weekend, and that the leader of the Libyan student union in the United States had arranged them. Students should hopefully receive their regular scholarship stipend payment by the end of the week, he said.
7:03am Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid has reached the Egyptian town of Salloum on the border with Libya and reports that there is a long queue of cars waiting to leave the strife-torn country.
6:39am CNN's Ben Wedemann, normally based in Cairo, entered Libya through the eastern border and has filed what might be the first report from inside the country by an English-language television news network:
6:24am Wondering how videos and images of the revolt in Libya have managed to get out, despite a chokehold on communications lines out of the country? Time magazine reports that Libyans crossed the border to use the Internet in the Egyptian town of Marsa Matrouh, which became of the one "media centers" of the revolution.
From Tawfik al-Shaiby, a chemical engineer: "I went to Egypt every day to give (my brother) a flash disk full of media from Tobruk, al-Baida, Benghazi. They were videos from mobiles. Not just mine. We made copies, went to the Egyptian border at Salloum and gave it to someone there - my cousin's son - and he went to Matruh, where my brother was."
Time also quotes Gamal Shallouf, a marine biologist, who credited Al-Jazeera and Facebook for spreading news of nearby revolts in Egypt and Tunisia that Libyans would never have received before.
6:16am Here's video of ex-Libyan interior minister (and army general) Abdul Fatah Younis delivering his resignation last night:
6:09am Omar Turbi, a Libyan-American businessman and commenter on Arab political affairs, tells Al Jazeera that those dismayed at the US response to the crisis in Libya should give Barack Obama some time.
"For God's sake, Reagan ... took three years before Poland was pushed over the edge and changed," he said. Just because the United States hasn't called for an end to Gaddafi's regime doesn't mean the Obama administration doesn't want to see it happen, he said. Officials are probably envisioning "nightmare" scenarios in which they make such a call and Gaddafi remains for six months or a year. Furthermore, Turbi said, many US citizens remain in the country waiting to be evacuated.
6:00am More evidence that suggests foreign troops are being used in Libya - or at least that Libyans believe this to be the case. This video of a dead man shows someone holding what appear to be identification documents, possibly a passport, that looks like it bears the name "Republique du Niger" and the country's coat of arms. There is no way to verify whether the man bore arms.
5:54am Peru has become the first country to sever diplomatic ties with Libya in the wake of the Gaddafi regime's brutal suppression of the uprising there. Foreign minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde said he would ask the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over the country. Peru's action sets itself apart from at least one nearby country, Nicaragua, which has offered support to Gaddafi.
5:49am In the past hour, Abdul Fatah Younis, the resigned Libyan interior minister who gave a wide-ranging interview to Al-Arabiya last night in which he asked Gaddafi to "please end your life," also told CNN that he expected Gaddafi's regime to fall "in a matter of days or hours".
5:32am From an intermediary, we've received mobile phone footage from a young Libyan in Tripoli that allegedly depicts gunfire in the Zawid Dahmani neighborhood of the capital last night, amid an ongoing and extremely violent security crackdown. You can hear a large explosion in the background - we're told it occurred at the "TV building" in the neighborhood. You can also hear a baby crying.
5:10am From Foreign Policy magazine: A Regime We Can Trust - How did the West get Qaddafi so wrong?
4:51am The first major evacuation vessel sponsored by the US Government is set to evacuate American citizens from Libya. Following is a Warden message by the American embassy in Tripoli:
A US Government chartered ferry will depart Tripoli from the As-shahab Port in central Tripoli, located on the sea road across from the Radisson Blu Mahari Hotel, for Valletta, Malta on Wednesday, February 23. Processing of passengers will begin promptly at 10:00am local time. US citizen travelers wishing to depart should proceed as soon as possible after 9:00am to the pier and arrive no later than 10:00am US citizens will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to persons with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions. The ferry will depart no later than 3:00pm. Travelers should bring valid travel documents and any necessary medications.
Each traveler may bring one suitcase and a small personal carry-on item.
3:15am People fleeing Libya's bloody unrest continue to arrive at airports in Europe tonight. At Frankfurt airport, in Germany, evacuees expressed their relief to be back home. British passenger John Dowley says that "thousands" of people were at the airport trying to leave the country.
Today in the airport was absolute chaos. Many people from North Africa trying to leave and get home.
[Photo by Reuters]
2:39am Libya is one of the most tribal nations in the Arab world - a country where clans and alliances shape the political landscape. Tribal structure has played a crucial role in the country's history.
Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari takes a look at the country's tribal system.
1:55am: Peru becomes the first country to formally severe all diplomatic ties with Libya. President Alan Garcia said:
Peru is suspending all diplomatic relations with Libya until the violence against the people ceases.
Peru also strongly protests against the repression unleashed by the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi against the people who are demanding democratic reforms to change the government which has been led for 40 years by the same person.
1:50am: Know someone in Libya having problems getting online? Here's a handy pictoral guide, posted online, to setting up a proxy server in order to access the internet.
1:22am: Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh says that all speakers in Libya's state TV press conference keep repeating that "assailants" and arrested men "are on hallucination pills". You can follow her at Twitter: @RawyaRageh
1:16am: Libyan official tells state TV they have arrested Tunisians, Egyptians and Algerians "trained to sow chaos".
1:14am: Uniformed Colonel now on Libyan state TV reciting poetry praising Gaddafi; describes him as "solid as Africa's dark mountains", tweets Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh.
1:06am: In case you missed this must watch video we put up in the last few hours of February 22nd's blog, here it is again.
The family of Mohamed Bouazizi, the young Tunisian from Sidi Bouzid whose act of self-immolation triggered the Tunisian Uprising, has a message for the families in Libya who have lost their loved ones to the violent repression of the protests.
Bouazizi, a 26-year-old street vendor, set himself on fire on December 17 after police abused and humiliated him. He died of his burns on January 4. The protest movement that began in Sidi Bouzid swelled to become a nationwide phenomenon, and spread to other countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Most recently, it reached Libya.
Hundreds of Libyans have been killed as Muammar Gaddafi attempts to petrify the protests against his regime. Menobia Bouazizi, Mohamed’s mother, recorded this message for their families. Her family sent the video to Al Jazeera. Read this excellent report from Al Jazeera's Yasmine Ryan, who recently returned from the birthplace of Tunisia's uprising - by clicking here: The tragic life of a street vendor
1:04am: UN Security Council statement:
The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the situation in Libya. They condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians. They called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue.
The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect its population. They called upon the Libyan authorities to act with restraint, to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and to allow immediate access for international human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies.
The members of the Security Council called for international humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya and expressed concern at the reports of shortages of medical supplies to treat the wounded. They strongly urged the Libyan authorities to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies and humanitarian workers into the country.
The members of the Security Council underlined the need for the government of Libya to respect the freedom of peaceful assembly and of expression, including freedom of the press. They called for the immediate lifting of restrictions on all forms of the media.
The members of the Security Council stressed the importance of accountability. They underscored the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians.
The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern about the safety of foreign nationals in Libya. They urged the Libyan authorities and all relevant parties to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country. The members of the Security Council will continue to follow the situation closely.
1:00am: Air force general on Libya's state TV says media will see "no one killed" in air raids, only arms warehouses destroyed.
12:54am: UN Security Council condemns violence in Tripoli, calls for those responsible for attacks on civilians to be held accountable
12:51am: A pro-Gaddaffi Libyan police colonel says two "Islamic emirates" have been set up in the east of the country, and that drivers carrying food aid are too scared to drive to Benghazi, the site of the beginning of the uprising, because the people there are on hallucinogenic drugs
12: 48am: Al Jazeera Arabic reports the Libyan warship that has been in Maltese waters for the past several hours arrived there after its crew refused to carry out orders to bomb Benghazi. A second Libyan ship has also reportedly been sighted in the area.
12:44am Libya's deputy UN ambassador says that Gaddafi's speech was code for his forces to start genocide against the Libyan people
12:40am Deputy Libyan ambassador emerges from UN discussions. This is significant, as the deputy has a radically different position to the pro-Gaddafi ambassador. We'll bring you all he has to say, live on our TV feed.
12:35am: A Libyan pilot - speaking from Switzerland - tells Al Jazeera he flew a plane load of mercenaries into Libya. He said he didn't realise what was happening at the time, but that the group were not speaking Arabic, but could hear them chanting verse. He urged his fellow pilots not to go to work and not to answer their phones. He said that, in the chaos of Tripoli, they would not be found. He said he was sure they and their families would be safe as the regime collapsed and lost power.
12:26am: Libyan government spokesman gives press conference outlining the vision of Gaddafi's eldest son, Saif al-Islam. Plans for reform include boosting payments to the unemployed. Also announces the formation of a committee to investigate events over the past couple of weeks. He says people "will be shocked by the extent of the distortion committed by Arab and foreign press and media.
The spokesman goes on to attack "the brothers in Qatar".
We used to respect the brothers in Qatar, but they have dedicated Al Jazeera to create lies and provocation on behalf of rich Egyptians who live in Qatar. This is unacceptable to us.
They were upset because President Gaddafi attacked the US president, who has bases inside Qatar. Their hope was to burn Libya, like they burned Tunisia and Egypt. But Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt - and we will remain strong.
As for Libyans who live abroad and are provoking Libyans at home to burn their country. We tell you to stop. You and your families are looking from abroad, waiting for instructions and low pay from your bosses.
12.06am: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi addressed the nation on Libyan state television on Tuesday. He blamed foreign powers for the current unrest in his country and said the protesters are on hallucinogenic drugs.
This video includes the first 20 minutes of his more than one hour long speech broadcast on state television:
12.00am: We continue our Live blog of Feb 22 here.