N. Africa, Mideast protests - Gadhafi: I'm still here
Anti-government demonstrators in Sanaa, Yemen, on Monday.
February 21st, 2011
11:44 PM ET

N. Africa, Mideast protests - Gadhafi: I'm still here

Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our story explaining the roots of the unrest in each country. Have a story to tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport.

Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:

LIBYA 11:45 p.m. ET, 6:45 a.m. local: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Libya to immediately stop the "unacceptable" attacks on anti-government demonstrators.

"Like you and many others around the world, I have seen very disturbing and shocking scenes, where Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from warplanes and helicopters," Ban said from Los Angeles. "This is
unacceptable. This must stop immediately. This is a serious violation of international humanitarian law."

LIBYA, 11:22 p.m. ET, 6:22 a.m. local: At the request of Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations - who earlier today called the crackdown in Libya a "genocide" - the U.N. Security Council scheduled a Tuesday morning meeting on Libya. This will be the first time the council has held consultations over any of the revolts that have swept Arab nations since January.

LIBYA, 11:09 p.m. ET, 6:09 a.m. local: A Libyan woman, speaking on condition of anonymity to CNN's Anderson Cooper, recounts a massacre near her home in Tripoli:

BAHRAIN, 8:51 p.m. ET, 4:51 a.m. local: CNN's Tim Lister reports from Bahrain, where he walked among protesters in the capital's Pearl Roundabout. Thousands of demonstrators were in the roundabout on Monday, preparing for a massive demonstration on Tuesday. Lister says the demonstrators' encampment has taken on an air of permanence, with tents, makeshift kitchens, even a rudimentary field hospital.

More on the Bahrain protests:

LIBYA, 7:40 p.m. ET, 2:40 a.m. local: About 15,000 of Libya's 2 million to 3 million Egyptians returned Monday across the border, border officials said.

The Egyptian military has set up refugee camps near its border with Libya and set up two mobile hospitals at the Salloum border crossing to assist Egyptians fleeing the protests in Libya, Egypt's state-run news website EgyNews
reported late Monday.

LIBYA, 7:33 p.m. ET, 2:33 a.m. local: Here is more on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's 40-second appearance - in which he said he still was in Libya - on state-run TV Tuesday morning:

"I want to have some rest," the embattled Libyan leader told a reporter in front of what Libyan television said was his house as he pulled out an umbrella in the rain. "Because I was talking to the young man at Green Square,
and I want to stay the night with them but then it started raining. I want to show them that I am in Tripoli, not in Venezuela. Don't believe those dogs in the media."

Green Square is where pro-government demonstrators in Tripoli have been located.

LIBYA, 6:49 p.m. ET, 1:49 a.m. local: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said Tuesday morning on state-run television that he is not in Venezuela as rumored, but in Tripoli.

Earlier today, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Reuters that Libyan leader Gadhafi may have been on his way to Venezuela.

Here is video of Gadhafi's comments to Libyan state-run TV:

LIBYA, 6:46 p.m. ET, 1:46 a.m. local: CNN's Cairo bureau chief Ben Wedeman has entered eastern Libya and is the first western television reporter to enter and report from inside Libya during the current crisis. He says much of eastern Libya appears to be in opposition control.

"What we saw as we were driving in is that this part of eastern Libya is clearly under the controls of the rebels - the forces that are opposed to Col. Gadhafi," Wedeman by phone on CNN's "The Situation Room."

"We saw along the road a lot of groups of men with shotguns - with machine guns - in civilian clothing. They call themselves basically the popular committees that are trying to maintain some sort of order along the way.

"Clearly the situation is very unstable. What we saw was that there are a lot of people – mostly Egyptians – who are leaving Libya at the moment. At the Egyptian border we were told by Egyptian officials that 15,000 Egyptian s left Libya, returning to Egypt."

"There are some signs of normal life. Gas stations are open. Stores are open. We saw … what looked like kebab shops that are functioning. There is a fair amount of traffic on the road, although I was told that was mostly Egyptians leaving the country."

LIBYA, 6:35 p.m. ET, 1:35 a.m. local: Libyan state TV is reporting that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is to speak soon.

LIBYA, 6:28 p.m. ET, 1:28 a.m. local: Ali Al Oujli, Libya's ambassador to the United States, said earlier today that he urges protesters in Libya "to keep momentum alive."

"If they they keep the momentum in the Libyan streets, (then) they’ll reach their goals. ... They have a very good experience on what happening in Egypt and what happening in Tunisia. And they should not compromise."

LIBYA, 6:22 p.m. ET, 1:22 a.m. local: Earlier today, this blog reported that Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters Monday that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has declared war on the Libyan people and is committing genocide.

Below is video of those comments. Dabbashi was speaking in reference to reports that the Libyan military was firing on protesters.

LIBYA, 6:07 p.m. ET, 1:07 a.m. local: A formerly pro-government newspaper in Libya is reporting that African mercenaries are shooting at unarmed civilians in Tajouraa, 25 miles east of Tripoli. The newspaper Quryna's perspective has changed since protests in Libya began.

CNN could not immediately confirm the report. The Libyan government maintains tight control on communications and has not responded to repeated requests from CNN for access to the country.

LIBYA, 5:32 p.m. ET, 12:32 a.m. local: The United States on Monday condemned the violence in Libya and called for a halt to the "unacceptable bloodshed" in response to civil unrest, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

"The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people, including the right to free expression and assembly," Clinton's statement said.

LIBYA, 5:29 p.m. ET, 12:29 a.m. local: Saif al-Islam al-Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, told the Libyan state news agency that the Libyan armed forces have not targeted protesters in Tripoli and Benghazi, Libyan state television reported Monday.

Al-Gadhafi said the bombardments targeted ammunition storage facilities in remote areas.

Earlier, a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly told CNN that Libya has used "aviation assets" to attack protesters on the outskirts of Tripoli.

In the following video, CNN's Ivan Watson, reporting from Egypt, talks about these allegations that Libya used aviation assets to attack protesters.

LIBYA, 5:21 p.m. ET, 12:21 a.m. local: Libya has used "aviation assets" to attack protesters on the outskirts of Tripoli, a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly told CNN Monday.

The official could not be more specific about the "assets," but the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition group, said helicopter gunships have fired into crowds of protesters.

A Libyan diplomatic source has denied the Libyan air force was conducting air raids against protesters in Libya.

LIBYA, 4:54 p.m. ET, 11:54 p.m. local: Video on YouTube shows what CNN is told are six badly burned bodies of Libyan soldiers in open body bags. Opposition sources in Libya say the bodies are of soldiers who refused to shoot at anti-government demonstrators. The video, taken on a cell phone, was posted on Monday; it is not known when it was taken.

Read this post for more information and to see the video.

LIBYA, 4:31 p.m. ET, 11:31 p.m. local: A woman in Tripoli, speaking on condition of anonymity, reports seeing people shooting - in an apparently random fashion - from cars. "I've seen myself red Hyundai cars with tinted windows that had armed people inside it shooting random people," she told CNN in a telephone interview. "Three victims have fallen in the street where I live."

CNN could not independently confirm this report. The Libyan government maintains tight control on communications and has not responded to repeated requests from CNN for access to the country. CNN has interviewed numerous witnesses by phone.

LIBYA, 4:25 p.m. ET, 11:25 p.m. local: A Libyan diplomatic source has denied the Libyan air force was conducting air raids against protesters in Libya. Earlier, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition group, said helicopter gunships were firing into crowds.

LIBYA, 4:01 p.m. ET, 11:01 p.m. local: The Arab League will hold an urgent summit Tuesday to discuss the recent developments in Libya, Egypt's official news agency MENA reported Monday.

ZIMBABWE, 3:53 p.m. ET: Zimbabwe isn't part of either North Africa or the Middle East, but a recent development there has links to the North African/Middle Eastern unrest. Police in Zimbabwe have arrested dozens of political activists and trade union members on suspicion of plotting an Egyptian-style uprising in the southern African country.

BAHRAIN, 3:43 p.m. ET, 11:43 p.m. local: Mass protests planned in Bahrain for Tuesday in support of calls for political reforms coincide with the planned return of Hassan Mushaimaa, who is the leader of Bahrain's largest opposition party, the Haq Movement.

Thousands more people moved into Bahrain's Pearl Roundabout on Monday ahead of Tuesday's planned mass demonstrations. Meanwhile, fallout from last week's violent protests continues. A 20-year-old protester in Bahrain, who was shot in the head on Friday, has died, hospital sources said Monday.

LIBYA, 3:41 p.m. ET, 10:41 p.m. local: CNN is checking reports that helicopters in Libya fired on protesters. The National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition group, has said helicopter gunships were firing into crowds.

LIBYA, 3:29 p.m. ET, 10:29 p.m. local: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi still is in Libya, a Libyan diplomatic source told CNN. The source also denied the Libyan air force was conducting air raids against protesters in Libya.

Separately, a senior official in the Italian secret service also said that Gadhafi remains in Libya. Earlier today, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Reuters that Libyan leader Gadhafi may have been on his way to Venezuela.

SUDAN, 3:24 p.m. ET, 11:24 p.m. local: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir says he will not run for re-election four years from now, a senior member of the country's ruling National Congress Party announced Monday.

"He will also leave his post as chair of the NCP to allow for the transformation of power to a new generation," said Rabi Abd al-Ati. The senior NCP member rejected the notion that al-Bashir's decision was prompted by popular uprisings in the region, including neighboring Egypt.

LIBYA, 2:15 p.m. ET, 9:15 p.m. local: Two Libyan Air Force pilots defected to Malta on Monday after being asked to bomb Libyan citizens, a Maltese government source said. The pilots' fighter jets were armed with rockets and loaded machine guns, the source said. Malta is a short flight from Libya.

LIBYA, 2:04 p.m. ET, 11:04 p.m. local: Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi met in Tripoli with ambassadors of the European Union, blaming the unrest in the country on "terrorists and destructive plans" and stressing that Libya has the right to "take any measures" to protect its unity, stability, people and resources, Libyan state television reported.

LIBYA, 1:19 p.m. ET, 8:19 p.m. local: Libyan helicopter gunships are firing into crowds of protesters, according to the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition group. CNN was unable to confirm the report independently.

LIBYA, 12:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. local: Oil company Total says it will evacuate most of its expatriate employees and their families from Libya. Shell said it has temporarily relocated the families of expatriate staff.

LIBYA, 12:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. local: The U.S. State Department has ordered family members of U.S. Embassy employees and non-emergency personnel to leave Libya.

LIBYA, 12:26 p.m. ET, 7:26 p.m. local: Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has declared war on the Libyan people and is committing genocide. Who is Gadhafi?

YEMEN, 12:17 p.m. ET, 8:17 p.m. local: Two human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, are reporting that 12 people have died as a result of protests in Yemen.

LIBYA, 12:02 ET, 7:02 p.m. local: British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Reuters that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi may be on his way to Venezuela. CNN has not confirmed. Gadhafi has maintained power in the country for 42 years. The Libyan ambassador to the UK, Omar Jelban, is denying that Gadhafi is on his way to Venezuela.

LIBYA, noon ET, 7 p.m. local: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had talked with Gadhafi, saying he was deeply concern about the violence, and that it must stop. At least 233 people have been killed in the protests, according to Human Rights Watch. Its report cites information from hospital sources. CNN is not able to independently confirm the figure, as the network has not been granted access to report on the ground.

Google has designed this map of protests based on what it calls "reliable tweets." Personal up-to-the-minute audio reports have been uploaded on Google here. CNN has not yet vetted these reports.

LIBYA, 11:45 a.m. ET, 6:45 p.m. local The government is demanding that citizens cooperate with security forces, and warning "organized gangs," Libyan state television reported, as security forces conduct raids on what it called "nests of terror and sabotage." Libya's justice minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has resigned to protest the "bloody situation and use of excessive force" against protesters by security forces, a Libyan newspaper reported. Meanwhile, two Libyan fighter jets have landed in Malta, according to journalists at the airport.

YEMEN, 11 a.m. ET, 7 p.m. local: It is the 11th day of protests. More than 3,500 gathered in the capital Sanaa for a peaceful demonstration, but violence broke out in Aden as police fired on demonstrators. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom reports what the Yemeni government doesn't want anyone to see.

Journalists were not allowed entry into hospitals where wounded students were taken, and Jamjoom shows you how difficult it is for reporters to get the truth about what youths have been calling their movement. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh refuses to step down and compared anti-government protests in his country to the flu spreading through the region. "This is a virus and is not part of our heritage or the culture of the Yemeni people," he told reporters.

LIBYA, 11 a.m. ET, 6 p.m. local: As reports streamed of protesters setting fire to a government building in Libya's capital and ransacking state TV headquarters, questions swirled around Gadhafi and whether he could be the third Arab leader toppled by the wave of protests rippling through the region. His son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, is trying to defend the family dynasty, warning on state television of "a fierce civil war" if the demonstrations don't halt. Who is the Western educated son of Gadhafi? What could Libya's uprising mean in the long term, CNN commentator Kirk Vandewalle asks. He wrote "A History of Modern Libya."

Here's a Monday morning breifing on protests in some of the nations in the region:

IRAQ - Unlike other nations, protests here have not targeted the government. Demonstrators are enraged by corruption, the quality of basic services and high unemployment. Most recently, on Sunday, A 17-year-old boy died and 39 people were injured were injured as demonstrators battled Kurdish security forces in Sulaimaniya in northern Iraq, officials said. CNN's Reza Sayah reports from Islamabad, Pakistan, on the violence. Masked gunmen attacked and burned an independent television station in Iraq's Kurdistan region Sunday, wounding a guard, police officials and the broadcast company said.

ALGERIA Protests began in January over escalating food prices, high rates of unemployment and housing issues, and iReporters were there. Rallies started in Algiers, but spread to other cities as more people joined. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would lift the state of emergency law in what analysts said was an attempt to head off a similar revolt.

DJIBOUTI - Protesters in Djibouti are angry about the economy. The country is home to Camp Lemonnier, the only U.S. military base on the African continent. Protesters have called for President Ismail Omar Guelleh - whose family has ruled the country since its independence from France in 1977 - to step down ahead of the elections scheduled in April.

JORDAN - Jordan's economy is struggling as commodity prices rise and youth unemployment is high, as it is in Egypt. Its king has called for swift reform.

KUWAIT - Protests are relatively new, beginning over the weekend. Demonstrators, who want greater rights for longtime residents who are not citizens, attacked security forces late last week.

SUDAN - Protesters are demanding an end to National Congress Party rule and government-imposed price increases. A "Day of Rage" was reportedly organized on Facebook against the government, but it failed to materialize. Human Rights Watch says authorities used "excessive force" during largely peaceful protests on January 30 and 31 in Khartoum and other northern cities. Witnesses said that several people were arrested, including 20 who remain missing.

TUNISIA - An uprising in Tunisia prompted autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to leave the country on January 14, after weeks of demonstrations. Those demonstrations sparked protests around North Africa and the Middle East.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES – Hundreds of Palestinians rallied for unity in Ramallah, calling on Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian political factions to heal their rifts amid arguments over elections scheduled for September in the Palestinian territories. "Division generates corruption," was one of several slogans written on banners held up by the demonstrators Thursday, who flooded the streets after calls went out on social networking sites, as well as schools and university campuses, for them to attend.

SYRIA – As protests heated up around the region, the Syrian government pulled back from a plan to withdraw some subsidies that keep the cost of living down in the country. President Bashar al-Assad also gave a rare interview to Western media, telling The Wall Street Journal last month that he planned reforms that would allow local elections and included a new media law and more power for private organizations.

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Filed under: Africa • Algeria • Bahrain • Bahrain • Egypt • Gaza • Iraq • Libya • Middle East • Pakistan • Yemen
soundoff (775 Responses)
  1. Arlon

    More reports:

    BP is preparing to evacuate its workers in Libya
    State-run TV is airing "confessions" of "Tunisians" in Libya claiming responsibility for starting the uprisings.

    February 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob1

    Too bad we did not get Ghadafi back when Reagan bombarded Lybia. He was bad from day one......but every dog has his day....and Ghadafi's day is coming soon.

    February 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saifa

    OBAMA, SHAME ON YOU, YOU MADE MORE THAN ONE STATEMENT ON EGYPT , WHY NOT LIBYA!

    February 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tewrobert

    Them two pilots should have bombed Kadafi's house instead of deporting. They would be heros..
    Didnt we bomb his house once before and his kid lost an arm? Or am I imaging it?

    February 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tewrobert

    Them two pilots should have bombed Kadafi's house instead of deporting.

    February 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JW

    Gadhafi seems determined to be the Nicolae Ceaușescu of this revolution wave. Remember what happened to him? Maybe he should look that one up.

    February 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gisele

    I'm watching CNN right now and the last video they have out of Libya is from FRIDAY. Meanwhile, I'm watching Al-Jazeera English live streaming and they are showing live shots. Come on, CNN, you are losing your edge (and, obviously, your ratings).

    February 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sharon

    Gadhafi received $400,000 from the State Department in 2009. Gadhafi spoke at the United Nations–and our Govt dished out $400,000 to Gadhafi's children charities!

    Now–look at his country! America better get ready-these allies from Egypt-Saudi Arabia–Libya (I don't think we would hand out $400,000 if he was an enemy) will retailiate. This so-called Democracy will reach uncontrollable riots.

    Revenge is the name of their game!

    February 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      Gadhafi doesn't need our $400,000. His wealth is stagering. Monitary wealth...He has no virtue.

      February 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Laura

    http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/21/the_libyan_horror

    February 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hugo

    Libyans: The people who ravenously celebrated the release of their National Hero: The Lockerbie Bomber.He took the lives of 270 innocent people. They wanted their rights too..TO LIVE..Libyans were warned by the UK not to celebrate the anniversary of his release and they did it again. He is still alive and may live another several years so expect the Libyans to dance on the graves again and again.
    I have no respect nor sympathy for such a people.
    http://www.victimsofpanamflight103.org/

    February 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tod

      Since Libya is so closed to media, it is possible that most of the people do not like the fact that the bomber is free. What we may have seen in the media is what Gadhafi allowed to be released. We do not know what the common people were thinking only Gadhafi's hand picked thugs. I do not believe that all Libyans think that way. They are closed to the rest of the world by a leader that needs to be assassinated, right now! We must not tolerate people like this in the world anymore. The same thing goes for the rich greedy people who step on others to get their wealth and power. Governments and corporations have to change their ways for the future to be better for everyone. This world CAN support the people that are on it, but we have to work as one world, not independent countries. Freedom for all!! It is near the time where WE THE PEOPLE need to reshape the world and the leaders so that all people enjoy the freedom to run their lives as they see fit.

      February 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Digger

    A warning should be issued to the Libyan military high command... "Stop using Military Air assets against civilains or risk destruction of your airflieds, air assets, and ground to air defenses" I do hope the Libyan Military realizes they have the responsibility to defend the people. Not one person...

    February 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arlon

      Libya's military was ordered to turn on Gadhafi over an hour ago.

      February 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. azrael

    The two governments that need to fall are the saudis and iran all the others are just cake. If the two governments don't fall its all for nothing

    February 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. COLKurtz

    Could this be proof that the War on Terror is a good thing and starting to show real results? Could Bush have been right?

    February 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tod

    When will the people, not the leaders of the world, WAKE UP? I am simply getting sick and tired of these dictators and the corruption in our governments and in corporations. We all need to band together and take control of the situation. To allow corrupt, ignorant, condescending leaders to remain in power is WRONG. These types of people need to be stopped NOW.
    This world is going to get worse as we fight against corruption and dictator type leaders. It may get worse because they will kill many people to keep their power, control and domination over others. We have to stop them.

    February 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LJH

    Hey, Iranian leaders! Ya you! Get your things packed for a quick exit..Because your next! I hope they get all of you..put you all on trial! Im loving it!

    February 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
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