N. Africa, Mideast unrest: Hundreds flee Libya as Obama orders sanctions
A U.S. ferry carrying about 300 people, including 168 Americans, arrived Friday night in Malta from Libya.
February 25th, 2011
08:46 PM ET

N. Africa, Mideast unrest: Hundreds flee Libya as Obama orders sanctions

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 and full coverage of the situation in Libya. 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, 8:46 p.m. ET, 3:46 a.m. local] U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that sanctions against Libya will target the government while protecting the people.

"We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights and a government that is responsive to their aspirations," he said in a statement. "Their human dignity cannot be denied."

[MAURITANIA, 6:21 p.m. ET, 11:21 p.m. local] A rare demonstration took place Friday in the streets of Mauritania after hundreds of protesters gathered, calling for social and political change, a journalist says.

The call to action started last week on Facebook, which is said to be very popular in Mauritania, said the journalist. Young protesters were surrounded by police during several hours of peaceful demonstrations in the capital city of Nouakchott, according to reports.

[LIBYA, 4:02 p.m. ET, 11:02 p.m. local] Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Libya's ambassador to the United Nations, on Friday recommended targeted sanctions against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, members of his family and his supporters responsible for killing civilians in the North African country.

"It's not a crime to say, I want to be free," Shalgham said, adding that the targeting of people expressing discontent with Gadhafi's rule "cannot continue."

[LIBYA, 3:41 p.m. ET, 10:41 p.m. local] Members of the U.N. Human Rights Council recommend setting up an inquiry into allegations of abuse and rights violations in Libya, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Friday afternoon. There was also a recommendation to suspend Libya from the council.

Ban pointed to what he called a "growing crisis of refugees and displaced persons" in Libya. He estimated that 22,000 had fled through Tunisia in recent weeks and another 15,000 through Egypt, adding that "larger numbers are, in fact, trapped and unable to leave" for fears of their safety.

"We anticipate the situation to worsen," Ban said.

[LIBYA, 2:55 p.m. ET, 9:55 p.m. local] A U.S. ferry carrying about 300 people, including 168 Americans, arrived Friday night in Malta. Bad weather initially delayed its departure from Tripoli.

[LIBYA, 2:50 p.m. ET, 9:50 p.m. local] The U.S. Embassy in Libya "has been shuttered," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday.

The U.S. government will use the "full extent" of its intelligence capabilities to monitor Moammar Ghadafi's regime and gather evidence of atrocities committed against the Libyan people, Carney also said.

Gadhafi's "legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes" of the Libyan people, he said.

"The status quo is neither tenable nor acceptable," Carney said.

[LIBYA, 12:50 p.m. ET, 7:50 p.m. local] Moammar Gadhafi said he was one with his people and would defend Libya at all costs, according to a public address aired Friday on state television. Wearing a fur trooper hat, Gadhafi said he didn't deserve to live if Libyans did not love him. "Get ready to defend Libya, defend petroleum, the dignity and the glory," Gadhafi said. "We can destroy any armed violence with the armed people."

[LIBYA, 12:13 p.m. ET, 7:13 p.m. local] Defiant Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi made a public appearance aired on state television Friday, telling his supporters to "sing, dance and be happy." State TV said it was live, but that could not be independently confirmed.

[LIBYA, 11:17 a.m. ET, 6:17 p.m. local] Protesters took control of the eastern Libyan city of Brega and its oil terminal Friday, according to an official who works at the communications department for the Port of Brega.

[LIBYA, 10:22 a.m. ET, 5:22 p.m. local] A flight chartered by the U.S. government plans to leave Tripoli on Friday to take U.S citizens to Istanbul, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli said in a statement. The plane is to leave from Mitiga Air Field near downtown Tripoli, the statement said.

[LIBYA, 7:59 a.m. ET, 2:59 p.m. local] Mohammed Ali Abdallah of the opposition NFSL said that multiple people in Tripoli report that heavy clashes are taking place during demonstrations after Friday prayers. Protesters and security forces are fighting in the areas of Fashloom and Algeria Square. Witnesses report  snipers and artillery fire. Women and children are among the injured. Clashes also are reported in the Souq el Juma area and El Dahmani near the beach. Demonstrators are moving toward Green Square, Abdallah said.

[LIBYA, 7:30 a.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. local] A ferry chartered by the United States left a port in Libya on Friday, a spokesman for the company operating the ferry said. The ferry has at least 285 people on board, mostly Americans who have fled the chaos, the U.S. government has said. It's bound for Malta.

[LIBYA, 6:31 a.m. ET, 1:34 p.m. local] Sources indicate "thousands may have been killed or injured" in anti-government protests in Libya, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said Friday.

[YEMEN, 5:34 a.m. ET, 1:34 p.m. local] Thousands of demonstrators, mostly  students, were lining the streets outside Sanaa University  Friday, as anti-government protests continued.

Government loyalists had also said they planned counter-demonstrations in the Yemeni capital after Friday prayers.

[TURKEY, 5:02 a.m. ET, 12:02 p.m. local] Four military planes took off from Tripoli on Friday morning and landed in Turkey,  getting 423 citizens out of Libya, according to the Tukish Foreign Ministry. Turkish Airlines is planning at least 3 chartered flights from Tripoli to Istanbul.

[LIBYA, 5:01 a.m. ET, 12:01 p.m. local] A United States ferry with at least 275 people safely on board was expected to leave Libya at some point Friday.  The Department of State recommended Thursday that any U.S. citizens in Libya "depart immediately due to the potential for ongoing unrest."

[BAHRAIN, 4:37 a.m. ET, 12:37 p.m. local] The leader of Bahrain's largest opposition party said Friday that he was unable to return from exile this week because he was detained in Lebanon.

"I am still in Beirut," Hassan Mushaimaa, leader of the Haq Movement, said Friday. "I was detained for hours on Tuesday. Then I was  released. I am now outside of the airport, and it would be better if I  do not disclose my whereabouts."

[LIBYA, 4:02 a.m. ET, 11:02 a.m. local] In a tit-for-tat gesture, Libya and Lebanon refused to allow planes from one country to land in the other.  The Libyans refused to let a Middle East Airlines plane land to pick up Lebanese nationals stranded in the North African Nation, the official Lebanese news agency said Friday.

[LIBYA, 4:01 a.m. ET, 11:01 a.m. local] At a U.N. Security Council Friday to discuss measures against Libya, France said it will ask for a complete arms embargo and sanctions  against the North African nation and request that the International Criminal Court look at the violence directed at civilians there as crimes against humanity.

"The situation is dramatic, (and) even though we don't know the exact number  of victims, a lot of  things indicate that there are several hundred so there cannot be any  impunity," French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told the France Info public radio station Friday.

[LIBYA, 3:54 a.m. ET, 10:54 a.m. local] A consultation is under way between Libyans in the country and overseas to form a national transitional body to coordinate all efforts of resistance in the country and worldwide, a source said.

The body's objective is to highlight national unity, according to the source, who is familiar with negotiations between opposition groups. It will also coordinate all revolutionary activities until the fall of what is left of the regime, according to the  source.

[LIBYA, 3:31 a.m. ET, 10:31 a.m. local] World leaders will meet Friday to discuss sanctions against Libya as nations braved rough seas to whisk citizens away from the escalating violence in the north African nation.

[LIBYA, 2:14 a.m. ET, 9:14 a.m. local] A British frigate, the HMS Cumberland, has left the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi with 207 people on board, officials said.

The ship is due to arrive in the Maltese port of Valetta about 3 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) Friday, with turbulent seas making the journey longer than normal.  Sixty-eight of those evacuated were British nationals.

[LIBYA, 10:43 p.m. ET, 5:43 a.m. local] Doctors at a field hospital in Martyrs Square in Zawiya said Friday that 17 people were killed and another 150 were wounded when government forces attacked the city. They predicted the death toll would rise by morning.

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Filed under: Africa • Algeria • Bahrain • Egypt • Libya • Protest • Tunisia • World • Yemen
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. biglips

    No maybe we should stay outa there mess and take care of our own

    February 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. biglips

    No maybe we should stay outa their mess and take care of our own

    February 25, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. allfaith

    Balance is the lesson to be learned. If we can't promise that balance then we should wait until we can and do whatever we can to make it understood that war and bloodshed do not lead to peace, they lead to distrust.
    The media should be doing whatever it can to give a voice to the different elements that are attempting to take leadership of their countries. Insist that they be transparent about their plans. If they're not, then let the people know that they're not forthcoming and therefore not worthy of their support.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    His nations in crisis and his advice to his people is sing dance and be happy ? and WHOs the one on hallucinogens? Im just imagining JFK during the Cuban missile crisis: My fellow Americans,just throw on some Marvin Gaye, and do the Watusi!

    February 25, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. leeintulsa

    Without war and bloodshed, there would be no peace. Without freedom, there is no peace. The story of freedom is written in blood.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    Hot dog raven! . JFK saying Marvin Gaye and do the Watusi. During the Cuban Missile Crisis. LMAO! Now that's funny!!

    February 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris Wiegard

    Bottom line, Moammar Gaddafi is a criminal against humanity. He needs to be deposed not just because of the Lockerbie bombing (which he ordered) and 40 years of despotism, but because there is not a nation on earth who can justify his continued rule at this point, and because his own people want to hang him upside down and beat him to death with sticks.

    It amazes me that there are still americans who want to argue either that he should be left alone to rule his country because he is not our business, or that B Obama has not been forceful enough with him. Would you feel this way about an American ruler who machine gunned your brother from a helicopter? Do you think that Obama should have bombed Tripoli while the ferry boat loaded with Americans was still in the harbor?

    I despair regarding the civility and knowledge base of my fellow citizens.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lakhdat

    A scorned madman will not hesitate to massacre everyone thar is not affiliated with his regime.I pray that the higher up in this regime will awaken to this potential genocide, and stop this cornered madman from bringing Tripoli down with him.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. raven

    Well SOMEONES feeling awfully important . You despair for our civility (or lack thereof) ? I think we all agree that Gadhafi is a tyrant and a despot and needs to be ousted. And as far as our knowledge base, Im pretty prouda the journalists and correspondants in Libya who are risking thier lives to bring us information. Dont despair for us,despair for the citizens of Libya.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    Hey Cesar! Hows it goin ? I keep just missing you and Banasy and the clan. I just hope they get this kook out of power before he really snaps and it becomes wholesale genocide.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TomahawkMissile

    Dear President Obama: Let me take care of this guy. You don't even have to send in troops or bomb babies like you usually do. Just find out where this Gadhafi is and send me flying. Once I give him a nice talking to the rest of the country will take it from there. Bing bam boom done. Everyone goes home happy. Maybe you won't use me Mr.President, because you need Gadhafi. The more leaks a faucet has the more a plumber is needed to come fix it. If you ever decide world peace is more important than your ego, then I will be here.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar

    @raven, I think he will be out in his butt before Santa comes to town.

    February 26, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    @Pablo, it is late, desgraciado.

    February 26, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. personny


    February 26, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    @Sandra, I guess that their neighbors don't care enough is the reason, but that's a good point that the media never brings out in the open. @Pablo, good morning pinche disgraciado.

    February 26, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
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