Posts tagged ‘Political Violence’

2011/02/26

Gaddafi’s Grip On Tripoli Slipping Away


Poor neighborhoods in the Libyan capital of Tripoli openly defied Muammar Gaddafi on Saturday as his grip on power after 41 years of rule looked increasingly tenuous in the face of nationwide revolt.

Security forces had abandoned the working-class Tajoura district after five days of anti-government demonstrations, residents told foreign correspondents who visited the area.

Foreign journalists allowed into Tripoli for the first time since protests engulfed Libya saw the scars of rebellion during a closely-monitored guided press tour arranged by government officials: a burned police station with piles of ashes outside, walls covered with anti-Gaddafi graffiti and shattered glass and rocks in the streets.

The New York Times called the day’s events as “a bold play by Qaddafi to prove that he was firmly in control of Libya [that] appeared to backfire Saturday as foreign journalists he invited to the capital discovered blocks of the city in open revolt.”

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2011/02/25

What Happens When Gaddafi Is Gone?

The Gaddafi regime is seemingly on its last legs in Libya; questions are inevitably being raised about what comes next for a country where the trappings of a normal state simply do not apply.

Muammar Gaddafi created such a personalized system of governing that he left no space for anything beyond himself, his family and the narrow ruling elite, many of whom were drawn from his own tribe, the Qadhadhfa.

Unlike in Tunisia or Egypt, forces that could help smooth a transition process such as political parties, trades unions, opposition groups or civil organizations simply do not exist in Libya.

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2011/02/24

Rebels Take Misurata, Tripoli Reinforces

Zawiya Massacre: 100+ Gunned Down


[Ed. Note: The most recent update is here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


Massacre in Zawiyah
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Libya – Map – Control of Key Cities Feb. 23-24


UPDATE 22:58 GMT: Situation in Zawiya updated to “fighting on the outskirts”

UPDATE 22:18 GMT: Reports coming in that Zawiya is “under attack” right now. Not sure how they’re defining that yet.

UPDATE 21:55 GMT: The US State Department has issued a statement warning Americans “against travel to Libya.” [Ed. Note: Holy crap! They’re just getting to this now?]


Fatima, one of the innocents.
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Video of the “underground prison” discovered in Benghazi has been posted.
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UPDATE 21:20 GMT: Al Jazeera’s lead story tonight will be that former Libyan Justice Minister [Ed. Note: is that an oxymoron or what?] Mustafa Abdel Galil is saying that Gaddafi has biological and chemical weapons and will not hesitate to use them. [Ed. Note: That could be a red-line for the western powers. The US and its allies are well-aware of Gaddafi’s stockpile. See previous updates for that.]

UPDATE 21:03 GMT: Osama’s Tweet is making the rounds:


UPDATE 20:53 GMT: Via Twitter, Libyan bloggers are reporting that text messages sent to residents of Tripoli in the past 30 minutes by Libyana, the country’s leading cellphone provider, advised them that a local cleric issued a fatwa against watching television channels “like Al Jazeera,” that incite bloodshed.

UPDATE 19:50 GMT: AFP is quoting a Tunisian official saying that nearly 20,000 people have fled Libya into Tunisia over the past four days.

UPDATE 19:42 GMT: People in Benghazi are now tidying up.



UPDATE 18:42 GMT: The Swiss government has announced its intention to locate and freeze any Gaddafi assets that may be held by its banks.

UPDATE 18:36 GMT: The switch to the rebel side by Major General Suleiman Mahmoud is seen as pivotal by Tim Niblock, a professor of Middle East politics at Exeter University who has known Mahmoud for years since supervising his daughter’s Ph.D work. “Mahmoud is a key person because he’s been the military commander of eastern Libya more or less since Gaddafi came to power,” Niblock told The Wall Street Journal. “I think his ambitions at the moment would be to work to bring together some kind of coalition which enables a transitional government to work until there are elections. I doubt he’d want political power, but he would probably have to be a key person in any development.” Niblock said he believed there were already contacts taking place between the eastern rebel leaders and army commanders in the west of the country. “They all know each other very well and the intention would be to effect a more rapid and less bloody end to the regime. The Libyan army on the whole resents the way it’s been under-resourced and displaced by the security battalions.”

UPDATE 18:31 GMT: Reuters is reporting that Libya’s Quryna newspaper says 23 people have been killed and 44 wounded in Zawiya.

UPDATE 17:15 GMT: CNN’s Ben Wedeman tweeted: “Libyan Air Force pilot tells me that a colleague in base near #Tripoli says pilots executed for refusing regime orders.”

——-THE REST OF THIS POST, INCLUDING MORE VIDEOS AND PHOTOS, ARE ON THE JUMP PAGE

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2011/02/23

Libya: Rebels Begin To Squeeze Tripoli

[Ed. Note: This post has been continued and updated, from earliest to most recent, here and here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


February 23, 2011: Areas of Conflict (click to enlarge)


Wikipedia entries for Libya’s historic periods. The total absence of any experience in self government is notable.


UPDATE 22:38 GMT: Al Jazeera has reported that tribes in the Azzintan and Nalut areas in west Libya have come out against Gaddafi with oil facilities in the area now “under their protection.”

UPDATE 22:20 GMT: In fairness to Obama, the EU states and everyone else, this is not our fight or the fight of anyone else. This is for the Libyans to sort out amongst themselves. Especially when it is so unclear – or unknown, as mentioned earlier – what each of the factions want, the sad but essential reality is that the governments of the world have an obligation to 1. evacuate their own citizens and 2. provide refugee and humanitarian assistance where it is safe to do so.

UPDATE 22:11 GMT: Obama on TV: “Doing everything we can to protect our American citizens.” “Condemn violence…violence must stop.” “Support universal rights of Libyan people.” “Libya has a responsibility to allow humanitarian assistance to reach its people.” Blah, blah, blah…ordered diplomats to talk some more and then hold a press conference to talk about what they talked about…blah, blah, blah. His instincts clearly pull him to be as insistent on human rights as Jimmy Carter was but US history, unfortunately, waves a big caution flag for modern presidents who want to follow their heart.

UPDATE 22:06 GMT: Associated Press: “The scope of Muammar Gaddafi’s control in Libya was whittled away Wednesday as major cities and towns closer to the capital fell to the rebellion against his rule. In Libya’s east, now all but broken away, the opposition vowed to ‘liberate’ Tripoli, where the Libyan leader is holed up with a force of militiamen roaming the streets.”

——-THE REST OF THIS POST, INCLUDING MORE VIDEOS AND PHOTOS, ARE ON THE JUMP PAGE

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2011/02/22

Gaddafi Speaks: “I Will Not Leave Libya – I Will Be A Martyr”


[Ed. Note: More recent updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here and here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here, here, here, here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]

New video of an undated street battle in Benghazi.
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UPDATE 22:56 GMT: Just added a portion from today’s New York Times that draws on numerous previously published reports to piece together some of the connections between Gaddafi’s money and Italy – and the close ties between Gaddafi and Berlusconi. You can find the post and link to the full article here.

UPDATE 22:43 GMT: BBC just re-quoted an unidentified person’s quote that “reports on Libyan TV – pro-Gaddafi supporters entered hospitals, rounded the wounded and killed them in an unspecified location. Where is their help?! Who is out there defending these people??”[Ed. Note: Without discounting the possible veracity – and not that anyone covering this hasn’t jumped the gun (uh…battleships bombing Benghazi – guilty here), that’s as unconfirmed as unconfirmed can be for the BBC.]

UPDATE 22:37 GMT: A lot of tweets questioning the validity of the confirmed report (it came from Reuters) of loyalists being sent to Sabratha.

UPDATE 22:15 GMT: Fighting in Tripoli’s Sarman district was confirmed earlier.

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2011/02/21

Gaddafi Launches Airstrikes On Protesters

Gaddafi Says He’s In Tripoli, Little Else


[Ed. Note: This post has been continued and updated, from earliest to most recent, here, here and here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here, here, here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


UPDATE 01:03 GMT: Here’s a screen image pulled from Libyan state TV:


UPDATE 00:53 GMT: It’s been mentioned by a few people that Gaddafi could be on his way to do an actual interview. If so, perhaps there will be cameras for the arrival, à la “Red Carpet” style.

UPDATE 00:49 GMT: Some Twitter responses to Gaddafi’s “speech:”

SO I HAVE A 40 MINUTE SPEECH AND YOU SAY TOO LONG, MY DAD HAS A 15 SECOND SPEECH AND YOU SAY TOO SHORT – YOU GUYS JUST LIKE TO COMPLAIN – from @SeifIslamGaddfi

At least he kept his statement short enough to tweet. – from @acarvin

By the way, now that this has put Libya firmly on the map, I hope this is the last time someone says – “oooo your from Liberia??” – from @libyansrevolt

UPDATE 00:31 GMT: Full text of Gaddafi’s “address to the nation,” via BBC Monitoring: “I am satisfied, because I was speaking in front of the youth in the Green Square tonight, but the rain came praise to God it bears well. I want to clarify for them that I am in Tripoli not in Venezuela. Do not believe these channels they are dogs. Goodbye.”

UPDATE 00:31 GMT: So we went from “an address to the nation” to “a speech” to “an interview” to, ultimately, a soundbite as the long-time Libyan strongman gets in his car. Nice to know he holds his own umbrella, though. That was a nice “man-of-the-people” touch.

UPDATE 00:26 GMT: From Associated Press: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has appeared for less than a minute on state television and made brief remarks to say he was in the capital Tripoli and deny rumors he had to fled to Venezuela amid the unrest sweeping his country. Gaddafi was seated in the passenger seat of a car holding an umbrella up through the open door. It has been raining in the capital for two days. His remarks were aired about 2 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

UPDATE 00:19 GMT: Gaddafi appeared briefly on state TV – says he is in Tripoli, not Venezuela. Will update.

——-THE REST OF THIS POST, INCLUDING ADDITIONAL VIDEOS AND PHOTOS, ARE ON THE JUMP PAGE

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2011/02/21

Libya: Update From Western Media

Highlights from reports filed by major media outlets since the speech by Saif al-Gaddafi …

The New York Times:
A five-day-old uprising in Libya took control of its second-largest city of Benghazi and spread for the first time to the capital of Tripoli late on Sunday as the heir-apparent son of its strongman, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, warned Libyans in a televised speech that their oil-rich country would fall into civil war and even renewed Western “colonization” if they threw off his father’s 40-year-long rule.

In a rambling, disjointed address delivered at about 1 a.m. on Monday, the son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, played down the uprising sweeping the country, which witnesses and rights activists say has left more than 200 people dead and hundreds wounded from gunfire by security forces. He repeated several times that “Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt” — the neighbors to the east and west that both overthrew their veteran autocrats in the space of the last six weeks.

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2011/02/20

Gaddafi Jr: Criminals, Druggies, Drunks Bringing Civil War, Poverty, Colonialism

Benghazi Falls, Heavy Gunfire In Tripoli

220 Dead, Could Top 500


[Ed. Note: This post has been continued and updated, from earliest to most recent, here, here, here, here and here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here, here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


UPDATE 00:02 GMT: Still trying to figure out which speech was stranger – Saif Gaddafi’s or Hosni Mubarak’s.

UPDATE 23:57 GMT: Fresh reports of gunfire coming from Tripoli.



UPDATE 23:51 GMT: Al Arabiya is reporting that “the Egyptian news service MENA is reporting” Muammar al-Gaddafi has left Libya and is on his way to Venezuela. Don’t know what it’s worth. The son, Saif, never said the Gaddafi family was staying.

UPDATE 23:41 GMT: Gathering reaction now. Would love to read your comments.

UPDATE 23:39 GMT: A rambling speech.

UPDATE 23:31 GMT: An opposition leader just tweeted: “Mubarak tried this, and he left the next day, you are bringing a day of rage tomorrow”

UPDATE 23:28 GMT: “Europeans and Americans will come back forcefully” – they won’t accept an Islamic emirate. “They will come and occupy you by force.”

UPDATE 23:26 GMT: “If we agree on this step tomorrow, we can spare the blood…or prepare to go to civil war.”

——-THE REST OF THIS POST, INCLUDING ALL VIDEOS AND PHOTOS, ARE ON THE JUMP PAGE

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2011/02/19

Fighting Intensifies, 180+ Dead In Libya


[Ed. Note: This post has been continued and updated, from earliest to most recent, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


Violence escalated today as opposition groups battled Gaddafi loyalists and Libyan police and military for the sixth day.

UPDATE 23:56 GMT: The UK’s Independent is reporting that as many as 200 people were killed in today’s fighting in Libya.

UPDATE 19:16 GMT: Associated Press adds details to the 18:32 Al Jazeera update: Snipers fired on thousands of people gathered in Benghazi…a hospital official said one man was hit in the head with an anti-aircraft missile. The weapons apparently were used to intimidate the population.

UPDATE 18:32 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting witnesses telling it that Libyan forces have opened fire at a funeral for protesters killed in Benghazi, killing 15

UPDATE 17:55 GMT: Cannot be confirmed, but…via Twitter, @LibyanYouthMovement: now confirmed GADDAFIs Nephew now DEAD in birka barracks, will be on the news shortly

UPDATE 17:40 GMT: An underground Libyan Internet Radio Station is claiming 55 people have just been killed in Benghazi in a mortar attack. The station also stated that Benghazi’s Al Jala Hospital currently has 200 dead in its morgue.

UPDATE 16:34 GMT: Website LibyaFeb17.com (some English translations are being posted) has posted an audio recording from a Tripoli resident saying prisoners have escaped from prison after a riot.

——-THE REST OF THIS POST, INCLUDING ALL VIDEOS AND PHOTOS, ARE ON THE JUMP PAGE

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2011/02/18

Bahrain: Army Fired At Mourners, Media – Live Fire From Street Level & Helicopter

UPDATE 19:56 GMT: Associated Press says some doctors and medics on emergency medical teams were in tears as they tended to the wounded. X-rays showed bullets still lodged inside victims.

UPDATE 18:59 GMT: Video added…caution: graphic scenes.


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UPDATE 17:46 GMT: Associated Press now reports that the injured in Bahrain total at least 50 persons.

UPDATE 16:37 GMT: Associated Press’s Hadeel Al-Shalchi via Twitter: Hundreds at the Salmaniyah hospital chanting anti-monarchy slogans

UPDATE 16:31 GMT: BBC adds details: Witnesses said the army fired weaponry and tear gas, and hospital officials said at least 25 people had been hurt.

UPDATE 16:18 GMT: BBC now also reporting that Bahraini security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters, citing witnesses.

UPDATE 16:10 GMT: New York Times, expanding on their earlier report: Government forces opened fire on hundreds of mourners marching toward Pearl Square, sending people running away in panic amid the boom of concussion grenades. But even as the people fled, at least one helicopter was spraying fire on them and a witness reported seeing mourners crumpling to the ground.

A witness said the shooters were military, not police, which might indicate a hardening of the government’s stance against those trying to stage a popular revolt.

It was not immediately clear if all the forces were using live ammunition or rubber bullets to fire at the crowd, mostly young men who had been part of a funeral procession for protesters killed in an earlier crackdown by police.

Minutes later, forces in a helicopter that had been shooting at the crowds, stopped to fire at a Western reporter and videographer who were shooting footage on the latest violence.

At least seven people had died in clampdowns before today’s violence and a Western official said at least one had died today. There were reports of at least 50 injured.


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2011/02/18

Smuggled Video/Pics Of Libyan Protests

[Ed. Note: This post has been continued and updated, from earliest to most recent, herehere, here, here, here, here and here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


It is extremely difficult to get any information on events in Libya.

The videos and photos below are believed reliable and current but cannot be verified for time or place. If you have reason to believe a photo or video is NOT from Libya during the past few days, please send an email and these photos will be removed. Your help is appreciated.


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2011/02/18

Battle Lines Harden Across Mideast, Africa


Security forces and government supporters employed a growing panoply of violent force — from tear gas and batons to shotguns and grenades — in pitched street battles with anti-government protesters in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen on Friday.

The clashes followed a week of deepening unrest as protesters, emboldened by the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, have called for swift revolutions in their own countries. The battle lines between protesters and authoritarian rulers across the Arab world appeared to be hardening, with governments turning to an increasingly brutal script in trying to quash the protests that have swept the region.

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2011/02/18

Video Shows Harsh Libyan Crackdown

[Ed. Note: This post was continued and updated here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The post that pre-dates this one is here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


Human Rights Watch is reporting that at least 24 people have died in the protests against Muammar al-Qaddafi’s 41-year rule of Libya. Demonstrations are continuing today.

New video from Libya (WARNING: Graphic images):


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2011/02/18

Riots In Yemen, At Least 3 More Dead

Tens of thousands of Yemenis are taking part in anti-government demonstrations across the country, with pro-government supporters also rallying in several cities.

Three people have been killed in the demonstrations with one of the deaths taking place after a hand grenade was thrown at anti-government protesters in the city of Taiz on Friday.

Riots also flared overnight in the southern port city of Aden with protesters setting fire to a local government building and security forces killing one demonstrator, local officials said. Seventeen people were also confirmed to have been injured in those clashes.


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Protesters across the country are calling for president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after 32 years in power, in a movement that has now entered its eighth day in Yemen.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in the cities of Sanaa, Taiz and Aden for a ‘Friday of Fury,’ as it was termed by protest organizers.

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2011/02/18

Jitters As Bahrain, Libya Bury Their Dead


Parts of the Middle East and North Africa are set for renewed displays of public anger toward their governments today, with the focus on Bahrain and Libya as protesters bury people killed in recent clashes.

Crowds have taken to the streets in Libya, Yemen, Iran and Bahrain over the last few days demanding at the very least more representation and at the most the overthrow of leaders.

The protests, inspired by popular revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that saw veteran presidents of both countries driven out of office, have forced the authorities to react, sometimes with fatal consequences.

Thousands of anti-government protesters were on the streets of Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi early on Friday, a day after “day of rage” demonstrations led to fatal skirmishes with the security forces.

BBC radio, quoting an eyewitness, said protesters against Muammar Gaddafi’s four decades long rule had clashed with security forces, who were using guns, and doctors had counted the bodies of 10 people.

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2011/02/14

Iran Unleashes Fury On Its Protesters

Ed. Note: Apparently, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad think it’s fine for Egyptians to voice complaints but, as we saw after the contested election in 2009, when Iranians start to protest, they’re beaten like Persian rugs.


In Iran, thousands of opposition supporters defied a government ban and gathered at Tehran’s Azadi Square today, chanting, “Death to dictators.”

At least one person was killed and several others wounded during clashes with security forces firing rubber bullets, tear gas, and beating demonstrators with batons. Dozens were detained as they rallied in support of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

The fiercest clashes were reported close to Azadi Square in the capital, and ambulances were seen coming and going. Witnesses told the Associated Press that at least three protesters were wounded by bullets, with dozens of others beaten by the security forces and taken to hospital.

The BBC reports sources saying similar protests are being held in the cities of Isfahan, Mashhad and Shiraz.

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2011/02/14

One Dead As Violence Rocks Bahrain


Ed. Note: This dispatch is updated with more recent information, photos and videos here, here, here, here and here.

Reuters is reporting that police are firing teargas and rubber bullets to break up demonstrations in Bahrain today, and at least one protester killed according to witnesses in a “Day of Rage” stimulated by popular upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia.

Helicopters circled over the Gulf Arab state’s capital Manama, where protesters had been due to gather but which remained quiet as security forces patrolled Shi’ite areas. More than 20 people were hurt, one of them critically, in clashes in Shi’ite villages that ring the capital, witnesses said.

The New York Times reports that 20 Bahraini police officers raised their weapons and fired rubber bullets and canisters of tear gas directly into a small group of protesters chanting slogans and holding signs. One man fell instantly and was shot at as he squirmed on the ground. Another was trapped against a wall and writhed as an officer shot rubber bullets at him, again.

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2011/02/07

As Talks Languish, Mubarak Strengthens

By Eric Young

Commerce has begun to return to an Egypt that was economically paralyzed for the past two weeks. Banks are open again; the stock exchange is scheduled to resume trading on Sunday.

While negotiations between the Egyptian government and its opponents drag on, the thousands of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square watch as their numbers decline – and Hosni Mubarak slowly rises from the canvas.

The protesters thought they had given a knockout punch to Egypt’s strongman.

Mubarak’s supporters have have always had a leader to rally around; today they received some sustenance as well as the government announced a 15% increase in pay and pensions for public-sector, a rich payoff to those most dependent upon – and most likely to support – the embattled Egyptian president.

Mubarak’s opponents have never had a single voice, and now those less strident, less willing to sacrifice their lives, are being peeled away by the call of home and work.

A few more days like this and it will be Mubarak the Giant against a small, leaderless group of irreconcilables willing to die for their cause.

Without a negotiated settlement or intervention by the Egyptian army, they will.

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