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Monday
Feb212011

Libya (and Beyond) Blog: The End of Qaddafi?

2230 GMT: We're going to take a break. Overnight coverage continues via the Live Feed from Al Jazeera English.

2220 GMT: Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Kaeem has phoned Al Jazeera Arabic: "I called in to tell you about your dismal coverage and tell you, you do not own the airwaves alone." He then said that he preferred foreign channels to Arab channels and would invite "Western" broadcasters to come into Libya and see the truth.

Libya, Bahrain (and Beyond) Sunday LiveBlog: Contrasts Heightened

2215 GMT: Muammar Qaddafi's son Saif al Islam has denied warplanes bombed populated areas today, claiming the targets were ammunition depots in remote locations.

2210 GMT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just delivered a prepared statement: "We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya. Time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed."

2155 GMT: Al Jazeera claims Libyan protesters are controlling radio stations in Benghazi, Bayda, and Darnah and broadcasting pro-revolution statements.

2145 GMT: Nouri Masood El Mesmari, Muammar Qaddafi's Secretary of Protocol, has resigned on-camera in an interview with Al Jazeera. He said Qaddafi will "stop at nothing" to retain power.

Ali el Rishi, Libya's Minister of State for Immigration, has said from Boston: "The regime will end and the people will remain."

2140 GMT: Al Jazeera reports, from eyewitnesses, that African mercenaries continue to arrive in Libya at Mitiga Airport east of Tripoli.

2110 GMT: The Austrian Army says airspace over Tripoli is closed.

Libyan border guards have withdrawm from the borders with Egypt, according to Al Arabiya and Reuters.

An EA correspondent reports chaos for the more than 1 million Egyptians in Libya as they try to leave the country. A deputy minister in Cairo said Egypt Air would send four flights to Tripoli, and then the deputy manager of Egypt Air said Libya had allowed two flights to collect the "million".

Thousands of Egyptians are reportedly flocking to the Egyptian borders. The situation is compounded because many Egyptians turned in their passports when they arrived to work in Libya.

2105 GMT: The Libyan Ambassador to the US, Ali Oujali, has told Al Jazeera, "We are disappointed by the way that the government has handled this matter. The use of the heavy weapons against unarmed people isn't something that the most ferocious regimes do."

The ambassador said he is staying in his post to help Libyans in the US, but he is not a personal representative of Muammar Qaddafi.

2055 GMT: Al Jazeera English reports airstrikes on the city of Az-Zawiya, west of Tripoli, and bombardment of Misurata east of Tripoli by aircrafts & tanks.

The channel also claims two military aircraft landed in Benghazi after the pilots refused to obey orders to bomb the city.

1927 GMT: Although it is impossible to confirm because of the communications blackout, there are mounting reports of a large number of casualties in the Fashloom and Tajoura suburbs of Tripoli. Residents of Tajura says the bodies of the dead are being left in the streets, because relatives cannot retrieve them amidst the shooting.

1924 GMT: It appears Libya's ambassador to India has resigned.

1910 GMT: Qatar's Foreign Ministry has condemned the Libyan regime's assault on protesters and criticised the international community for remaining silent.

The Qatari Foreign Minister has asked Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa to convene an urgent summit.

To our knowledge, this is the first condemnation of a Libya by an Arab Government.

1905 GMT: The Libyan Ambassador to Bangladesh was another diplomatic defector this afternoon, resigning his post.

1859 GMT: The BBC reports that Muammar Qaddafi was in Libya when he spoke to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon this afternoon.

1840 GMT: Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, is telling Al Jazeera, "Colonel Qaddafi is committing genocide against his own people."

Dabbashi says It is the end of the game" for Qaddafi"; He knows [that]. He's just trying to delay his fate."

Dabbashi concludes, "We are in the service of the people, not the regime."

Following Dabbashi's appearance, the Libyan delegation to the UN symbolically defied the Qaddafi regime by asking for a no-fly zone over Libya, preventing aircraft from firing on protesters.

1830 GMT: The two Libyan colonels who defected in their fighter jets to Italy say they left because they had been ordered to shoot protesters. Al Jazeera English reports that they shared classified info with interrogators about military activity.

1810 GMT: Libyan State TV is running this strapline at the bottom of its programming, "The Libyan Armed Forces are calling on brother citizens to stay clear of engagement zones with outlawed sabotage groups, out of concern for the safety of our citizens. May God be on our side."

1745 GMT: Al Jazeera English is reporting that Libyan colonels were among the officers who flew two fighter jets to Malta from Benghazi this afternoon.

1728 GMT: An eyewitness in Tripoli has told the BBC the suburbs of Fashloom and Zawia al-Dahmani,a 10-minute drive from the city centre, have been cordoned off by security. Protesters are on the streets, and flames and smoke are rising from the area. Aircraft can be heard flying overheard the city.

1720 GMT: The US State Department has ordered all Embassy family members and non-essential Embassy personnel to leave Libya immediately.

1705 GMT: With Libyan authorities imposing a blackout on communications, there is no further news on the attacks on the Tripoli march, which reportedly was going to head toward Qaddafi's residence.

1635 GMT: Al Jazeera is reports, from multiple sources,aerial attacks against protesters in Tripoli.

The channel adds that all wireless and landlines for phones have now been cut.

1625 GMT: Libyan State TV reports that live ammunition is being used against "pockets of destruction and terror".

Protesters have been trying to organise a large march through Tripoli this afternoon.

1605 GMT: Two Libyan fighter jets have landed in Malta, apparently flown by officers fleeing the civilian takeover of the military base in Benghazi.

Two civilian helicopters, carrying French nationals of an oil company, also arrived at the Mediterranean island.

1555 GMT: In Bahrain, Abdul Redha Mohammed Hassan has died from a head wound when he was shot by security forces as protesters marched towards Pearl Roundabout.

1450 GMT: More on the request by Egypt's top prosecutor for a freeze on the assets of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family....

The prosecutor has also requested the Foreign Minister to ask other nations to freeze any assets abroad. The freeze applies to Mubarak, his wife, his two sons, and two daughters-in-law.

On Sunday, Mubarak's legal representative said that the former President had submitted a declaration of his wealth to authorities and that he had no assets abroad.

1440 GMT: According to Al-Jazeera, four helicopters are circling Green Square in central Tripoli where protesters have gathered. 

1430 GMT: Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "We call on all sides in Libya to peacefully resolve existing problems, on the path to a responsible and broad national dialogue and the conduct of necessary reforms. In any case, the violence must be stopped."

1420 GMT: According to AP, Egypt's top prosecutor requests freeze of assets of ousted president Mubarak family.

1410 GMT: David Cameron told reporters: "We can see what is happening in Libya which is completely appalling and unacceptable as the regime is using the most vicious forms of repression against people who want to see that country — which is one of the most closed and one of the most autocratic — make progress. The response they have shown has been quite appalling."

Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Office said it was summoning Libya's ambassador to condemn the use of lethal force against demonstrators.

1400 GMT: After Britain's David Cameron, Undersecretary of State William Burns has also arrived to Egypt.

1355 GMT: More than a hundred Egyptians are chanting in front of the Libyan Embassy in Cairo, in support to anti-government protesters in Libya.

1350 GMT: It has been reported by another activist that embassy employees in Stockholm resigned in protest to Qaddafi. 

1340 GMT: An activist claims that all religious leaders in Libya urged Libyans to disobey. 

1320 GMT: URGENT Anti-government protests break out in Libyan town of Ras Lanuf, site of oil refinery -Libya's Quryna newspaper (Reuters).

1310 GMT: Labour protests within Egypt's electricity sector have escalated as workers at seven power plants staged sit-ins calling for "tangible solutions to their problems." They denounced what they described as the Electricity Ministry's "campaign of deception and delay."

Technicians and administrative officers organized strikes at the Nubariya plant in Beheira, Tebbin and Karimat in Helwan, Abu Sultan in Ismailia, and Oyoun Moussa and Ataqa in Suez.

1300 GMT: It is claimed that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is to announce its new political party's name as "Justice and Freedom Party" in the coming hours.

1250 GMT: Turkey is sending four ferries to evacuate citizens from Libya after a Turkish Airlines flight was denied permission to land.

1240 GMT: A picture from Bahrain's Pearl Roundabout:

1230 GMT: Morocco: The burned bodies of the five victims were found in the offices of a bank which was set ablaze during unrest after demonstrations on Sunday in al-Hoceima, Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui has said.

1220 GMT: Gamal Ibrahim, an Egyptian father, named his newborn daughter "Facebook" in honor of the role the social media network played in bringing about a revolution. 

1200 GMT: Al-Jazeera English's Gregg Carlstrom reports: "Police colonel in Benghazi tells Al Jazeera that the police 'are fully with the people,' receiving 'confused' orders."

1130 GMT: European Union foreign ministers will condemn the repression of anti-government protests in Libya. According to the draft of a joint statement to be agreed at their meeting later on Monday, Reuters reports:

The Council condemns the ongoing repression against peaceful demonstrators in Libya and deplores the violence and the death of civilians.

Freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully are fundamental rights of every human being which must be respected and protected.

1100 GMT: Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa called for an end to violence in Libya.

1040 GMT: British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Cairo for meeting with military leaders.

1030 GMT: Al Jazeera reports from medical sources that 61 people have been killed in Tripoli today. The police station in the Souq Jamaa area reportedly has been burnt down.

1025 GMT: Ahmad Jibreel, a Libyan diplomat, has said that he drove 600 km (370 miles) from Baida in the east of the country, and the area is under civilian control.

1020 GMT: Asharq Al Awsatclaims Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the Libyan Minister of Justice, has resigned. According to Egypt's Youm7, this is because of the use of live bullets.

Libya, Bahrain (and Beyond) Sunday LiveBlog: Contrasts Heightened

0948 GMT: Reports coming in that Libya's government headquarters in Tripoli is on fire. The building is near Martyrs' Square, where protesters are gathered.

Eyewitnesses also say that demonstrators have burned all police bureaux in capital Tripoli.

0944 GMT: France is closing French-run schools in Libya and urging its citizens to return home, European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez has said.

0918 GMT: The British energy company BP has suspended preparations for exploratory drilling for oil and gas in western Libya.

0900 GMT: Salahuddin Abdullah, A Benghazi protest organizer, tells Al Jazeera English that civilian committees are in control and trying to establish ad hoc local government.

0835 GMT: Reports claim State TV headquarters in Tripoli was attacked by Libyan protesters overnight, and other public buildings were set on fire. Snipers reportedly fired on the demonstrators.

There are calls across Libya for a march on Muammar Gaddafi's residence in Tripoli after 'Asr prayers, around 4:30 p.m. local time.

 

0830 GMT: Michelle Shephard of The Toronto Star from Sanaa in Yemen:

 

Completely different mood at Sana'a demonstration today. Singing, cheering, ice cream vendors and slick anti-[President] Saleh banners. Asked about Saleh's comment of the demonstrations catching like the flu (see 0708 GMT), a student demonstrator said, 'He's the disease, we're the cure.'"

 

0820 GMT: A resident, out on the streets in the centre of Libyan capital Tripoli: "Quiet now. Few cars. Banks, shops closed. "It is like a ghost town."

0815 GMT: As President Saleh staged a defiant press conference (see 0708 GMT), Thousands of Yemenis, including students and MPs, joined a protest near the university campus in the capital Sanaa on Monday calling on him to quit.

Security forces surrounded the protesters as they carried banners: "People want change," "People want to overthrow the regime," and "Leave".

Meanwhile, police shot dead a protester and wounded four others in the main southern city of Aden. Ali al-Khalaqi was the 12th person to die since 16 February.

0735 GMT: National airline EgyptAir said Sunday that it would lease 25 of its newest aircraft to other carriers, trying to offset large losses linked to the uprising that toppled President Mubarak.

The company also offered to provide crew to staff the planes.

More than 200,000 tourists left Egypt during the three-week challenge to Mubarak.

0730 GMT: In Syria, Ahmad Abu al-Khair, who has been blogging since 2005, was arrested early Sunday morning on his way back to Damascus from the coastal city of Banias. Security forces also confiscated his personal computers.

0714 GMT: In Sudan, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has announced that he will not stand for re-election in 2015.

0708 GMT: In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh has held a brief conference. He said that the problem was that, on each occassion that he makes an offer of discussion, the opposition raises its demands. 

Saleh declared that "regime change is unacceptable" and said the pro-democracy movement is a "contagious disease" which spread from Tunisia: "It's a flu."

0705 GMT: Libya's ambassador to India, Ali al-Essawi, has resigned, accusing the government of using foreign mercenaries.

On Sunday, the country's representative to the Arab League quit, denouncing the "genocide" of the Libyan people. And last night, the 2nd Secretary in the Libyan Embassy in China resigned during an on-air interview with Al Jazeera.

0630 GMT: Rahma, an activist in Tripoli, tells Al Jazeera that her father, a US citizen, was detained during protests at the Libyan capital's main courthouse on Sunday. She has not been able to contact him.

0610 GMT: "Hundreds" have attacked the headquarters of a South Korean construction site in Tripoli, injuring at least four people.

0555 GMT: Straight into the news this morning after a Sunday which started slowly picked up in the afternoon with the mounting rumours from Libya of clashes and trouble for the Qaddafi regime, escalated with the possibility that Muammar Qaddafi had ended his 42 years of rule by fleeing the country, and ended late last night with the surreal performance of Qaddafi's son Saif al Islam on State TV.

There has been no sudden movement in the last six hours. There is no news of Muammar Qaddafi and no response to Saif al Islam's offer --- the only coherent part of his 30-minute ramble about foreign threat, drug users, and civil war --- for dialogue on reforms

Al Jazeera English reports, from a Libyan abroad with family in Tripoli, that "the situation has calmed somewhat", as residents perform the morning Fajr prayer. A protester in Benghazi says security and military forces have withdrawn and the city is run by "young people".

No movement in Bahrain where demonstrators are now established in the Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama --- we will be looking to see if the opposition softens it line and agrees to dialogue with the regime if the Government is not removed.

And we will be seeking news on Yemen, where clashes continued between pro-regime and anti-regime forces, for the 11th straight day. On Sunday, President Ali Abdullah Saleh offered to oversee a process of "dialogue", clearly the new buzzword for troubled regimes, but the opposition flatly rejected the approach.

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