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. Angie

    I feel complete helplessness at the sound of that young woman from inside her home, taking a risk by speaking out against those in power who are supposed to be the leaders and protectors of her country. Everytime her voice cracked so did my heart. I believe we are all connected, each and everyone of us and the fact that "we" as a people of the world are not helping is shameful. My prayers go out the people of Libya but I am praying even harder that leaders everywhere take a stand and unite against rulers who inflict fear.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Farmer Bob

      Did you ever see "Wag The Dog?" Or did you ever see that moving testimony by that young Kuwaiti woman talking about Saddam Hussein's forces killing babies in their incubators? Turns out she was the daughter of some Kuwaiti big-wig and didn't see anything of the kind. Enjoy your virtual reality.

      February 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    I sit and listen to this woman night after night and my heart breaks. Last night on AC she was pleading and begging for help and all i wanted to do was take up arms and go get her and her family. She needs to know that help will come it may come from us or it may come from western Libya but, it will come. I am hopeful that the only reason we haven't implemented a no fly zone over Libya was the U.S citizens trapped on that ferry that couldn't leave. Now it left port, we got our people out and it's time to crack down on this genocide. Enough is enough, these people need help and someone needs to give it to them.

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

      "Last night on AC she was pleading and begging for help and all i wanted to do was take up arms and go get her and her family."

      So what stopped you? The buses stop running?

      February 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GTFO!!!

    Now they flee!?

    February 25, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. mohamad

    Hey Ruffnutt where's my friend Cesar?

    February 25, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Here I am to tell you that like RUFFNUTT,I don't like that Tea Party lingo either.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Aaron

    I for one am glad to hear about these uprisings in the middle east. I am sad to hear the innocent are getting injured and killed. But maybe, we can finally see an end to the oppression in the middle east. I just hope one clown doesn't replace the other. Let the domino's fall.. a bright future ahead? I hope so...

    February 25, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. mohamad

    Mah boy you are lucky that today I don't feel like insulting your mother

    February 25, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Mah Boy

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wFKH9fu4UY

      February 25, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Mah Boy

      Aww, youtube embedding is turned off

      February 25, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mah Boy

    Reagan could have took him out when he had the chance, but refused! Why did Reagan hate America?? 🙁

    February 25, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Are you kidding me? Regan bombed the crap out of Libya and sent Qaddafi back to his hole.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Slim

    Go paint me a picture, Pablo.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    At this point, I hope that America will up its evacuation of the country and help Lybians flee as well.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

    Wow you people are stupid. Don't you realize the U.S. needs to put a western leader into position in Libya to secure world oil prices and keep western idealology alive in N. Africa?

    February 25, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Will you kindly quit blogging your right-wing bla-bla-bla under my name. You irritate worse than pablo talking about my grandmother with his Tea Party lingo!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      I heard NATO is planning for action in lybia,why not instead use those lybian military personnal already iserted to do the job,they fighter jets in their hands and what they need to do is bomb ghadafi in his Tripoli boldhold once and for all then the genocide will be stop.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mohamad

    Chris fukk you

    February 25, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    Mohamad and Pablo are the same person – just some bored kid trying to stir up trouble because he has nothing betterto do with his life. Ignore him – it only feeds his tiny little ego.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. pablo

    Cesar I haven't mentioned your grandma I'm not going to curse you anymore

    February 25, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Name*Den Izen

    Send in the carriers for another "Top Gun" dog fight over the waters of the beautiful blue Mediterranean.
    We need Reagan back. He would show em who's boss.
    So there.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. chester drawer

    International fone call, Moamar da madman's henchmen had it traced within seconds and she or what is left of her is probably rotting in the local garbage landfill under thousands of other bodies. Our politicians are cowards hiding behind budgets who can scream at the Egyptian Mubarak cuz he was our friend, had no oil, and was dependant on us; but we can say nothing to our real master who is not and never was our friend and is our master because he DOES have oil that our big businesses are addicted to. Some nations that you would not expect have guts, like the North Vietnamese who ousted Pol Pot with four hundred thousand of their own army men and got NO thanks from the ingrate west. Where is your humanity you supposedly civilized west? Where are your guts?

    February 25, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Good post,chester. Thank you.

      February 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
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