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. chris steinbrecher

    My heart is breaking for the people in Lybia. Anderson,please tell the couragous young woman that you are talking too,I care and she along with her fellow Lybians are in my thoughts and prayers! All of you are heros and I agree we need to get help to you! Stay strong and we are getting the horrifing geniside occuring! You are one of the most couragous woman by taking the risk you are! You and all Lybians are in my prays!

    February 25, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • runswithbeer

      Qaddafi has lost power and control of Libya. The free world can never support him again even if he claims to be the Leader of Libya.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary H

      if she has a hone i wonder why she cant take some pictures or video , i know it would be taking even more of a risk though

      February 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      Chris, I feel for the Libyans plight too. However, I do wonder where are the leaders of the Arab League? Why are they not helping their fellow Arab brothers and sisters? Everyone wants the U.S., NATO, EU and the U.N. to step in but what about their own Arab neighboring countries?

      February 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jonathan L. Gal

    To The Shores of Tripoli, Fellow Americans. To the Shores of Tripoli!


    February 25, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |

      Will you cut the right-wing bla-bla-bla out,Phunnie boy. You sound like a friggin' Nazi!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. ben stiller

    you say Gadafhi, I say Qaddafi

    February 25, 2011 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
    • some_guy

      Good playword, but I don't think anyone would understand a playword in arabic, in this blog.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. vp bakshi

    Libyans are in the same position as innocent citizens of former East Pakistan under attack from Armed forces from West Pakistan. India came to the rescue and east Pakistan exercised the right of Self-determination leading to birth of Bangla Desh. Libyans are similarly to be rescued at the earliest from the senseless killings before it is too late. Will some country come up to deliver justice and right to live to the Libyans in the east?

    February 25, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tede

    1 sniper- 1 bullit- NO MORE GUDAFI

    February 25, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      If it was that easy he would have been taken out during the Regan era.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. Prayers for ALL

    I am praying for the people of Libya as I pray for the people of Darfur and all oppressed nations to be saved by the humanitarians, not to be "saved" for their land's money and oil but for humanity. Please.

    February 25, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • ali

      Yes, I too praying for them.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • allfaith

      Peace through awareness.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mohamad

    Cesar where are you my friend

    February 25, 2011 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Teresa H

    For crying out loud, SOMEONE HELP THESE PEOPLE!! Where is the human compassion, empathy, SELFLESSNESS of this world? How can anyone sit there in the comfort of their homes watching this slaughter and not want to do something to help them. Try to put yourself in their shoes; it could have been YOU! I am as Caucasian and non-muslim as it gets, and this is a disgrace to all. Shame on the world. If I were stuck in Libya and couldn't get out, I would rather die than think because I needed out thousands were dying. In what country does the general public usually have the say in anything??? Wars, decisions, etc., are made by a handful of people NOT the general population. No matter what the political outcome is or what happens later, it is NON-HUMAN what is happening to these people in Libya, and SOMEONE needs to help them!! Not to help is greedy, selfish, and shameful.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      And what are you doing to help? Besides siting in the comfort of your home or office typing on your computer that is.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • MAX

      someone help these people ? if we did the liberals would be screaming we started another war with another country, we need to be the big dog on the block and the ones that dont like it need to move out of the country they're the ones bringing us down, we help all or we help none.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      What do you suggest? Starting another war? How many American lives, how much treasure, are you willing to sacrifice for the Lybian people? Give us a number and we'll make sure we don't go over that.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam the Sham

      Our president is the only one with the power to do something and he is, once again, standing on the sidelines making speeches a week too late. You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim R

      The Iraqis really loved us for freeing them from Saddam, didnt they...

      February 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mary


    February 25, 2011 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. mohamad

    How are you mary

    February 25, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary H

      fine how are you , sorry didnt answer this one right away but i was on the way to work i'm at lunch right talk t you tonight New York time

      February 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joseph

    From the Island of Malta : Everyone on the Vessel, are welcome to the island of Malta. May you have a safe journey back. You will all be greeting with a warm welcome.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ace

    americans don't know the meaning of compassion

    February 25, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Good job generalizing about 300+ million people you xenophobic bigot

      February 25, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |

      Quite right Ace,we don't. That's because we're just too arrogant and self righteous to do so!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. Teresa H

    And to think compassion, TRUE compassion, and empathy, goes a lot further than any political or greedy motive to have REAL close ties between ANY groups of people working together for really the same end result, PEACE and happiness! Would that not then be a benefit to EVERYONE?

    February 25, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. danny

    @ Teresa H, because it is time the US stays out of other countries affairs. We get called all sorts of things for trying to help. Then we get called all sorts of things for not doing anything. It's not that I don't care about humans, but freedom cannot be accomplished by outside, invading forces. @ Ace, we are almost always the first in line when a disaster happens. The tsunami, Haiti, New Zeland. We offered assistance to Russia when their nuke plant had a meltdown. We even offered aid to IRAN when they had an earthquake. Who helped us for 9/11? Katrina? The oil spill? Buller? Buller? Anyone? Anyone?

    February 25, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • zack

      Danny, You do realize that after Katrina, Cuba offered us boats, rescue crews, food water, to be sent to New Orleans within 48 hours, and we refused their help, and people died! We Amercians need to get over our ego's and realize that we are just a nation, that has to share the world with 6 BILLION other people.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      On the other hand,who was it that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WW2? And who jumped into Vietnam? We get involved in places where we have no right to be,especially with our C.I.A. The C.I.A. alone has in fact murdered more people than all the other terrorist organizations around the world put together!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |

      Good post,zack. We Americans do need to get over our arrogance and self righteousness or otherwise the rest of the world will only continue to resent us!

      February 25, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Daniel, stay on topic. WHAT does that have to do with the current crisis?

      February 25, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Zack, "we" didn't refuse anything. The corrupt criminals in Washington did.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • TP Snow

      We are also on the side of way too many dictators who brutalize their own people. I just read an article about how American corporations, lobbyists and public relations firms were falling all over themselves to do business in and represent Gadhafi and his sons after Bush re-established diplomatic ties with Libya. American firms made a lot of money knowing full well the kind of corrupt system they were enabling. This is a very old story.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Dearest Daniel: You condemn the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You would have preferred OPERATION DOWNFALL, I take it?

      February 25, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      And who installed Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1973 in Chile? He was one of most horrific dictators who ever lived on the face of the earth and tragically enough,thanks to some friends in high places in 2000 in England and America,he got away with everything he ever did!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Farmer Bob

      As I recall, both the Russians and the Dutch offered to help us with the gulf oil spill. We refused. Of course, that was Obama and he does no wrong. Then he shut down gulf drilling and BP ran off and made a deal with . . . who was it now? . . . oh yes, Libya.

      February 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mohamad

    You american will never succeed in a war with us, we have a real leader our beloved brother Osama, you are going to suffer

    February 25, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      Your a fraud just like your lame religion.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • ThreeStooges

      Momar isn't the only one we've got to worry about. Its also his brothers-in-faith Larrymar and Curlymar.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      War with us? Libyians are at war with themselves.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • runswithbeer

      Hmm a jobless white American 25 year sitting in his parents home no doubt.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Mah Boy

      Muhamed, we don't have to worry about Osama. He's too busy corrupting the youth of libya by spiking their coffee with hallucinogenic drugs 🙁

      February 25, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      People, this is some idiot in Duluth trying pretending to be an islamist to stir up trouble. Just ignore him – he's not who he says he is.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
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