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. pablo

    Cesar hay un maricon usando tu nombre y el mio yo no dije nada de tu abuela

    February 25, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Gracias pablo. Te creo. El desgraciado hace lo mismo a mi tambien.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    As much as I wish we could go help lybia. We all know the world hates America for helping people in need. They think we are imposing our beliefs of everyone. But now people are mad at us for not helping. We can't win in any situation. So, we should give the world what it wants and mind our own buisness. Why can't we say Fuk what ther rest of the world thinks and do the right thing for people who need it. I personally do not care what any other country thinks of me or my country, as long as we are doing the right thing...

    February 25, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    Yeah, let's install another puppet-leader. Surely muslims will fall for it again. Do we really think Muslim's are that stupid? That we can simply install a leader in their own country and they won't notice? Sounds a bit arrogant to me.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Name*Den Izen

    Then he could call for solidarity with the working people of the world while canning all the air traffic controllers.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. personny

    Israel is becoming a nation. http://nopolicestate.blogspot.com/2011/01/egypt_29.html

    February 25, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. pablo

    Personny Israel is a nation you dumazzz

    February 25, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    @philip ha they obviously "notice" it. Thats why they hate us. Thats why everyone hates us. But I really do not give a fuk if everyone hates me or America. Why should I? Atleast we have tryed, how many of those countrys that hate us can say that...

    February 25, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Name*Den Izen

    The problems in the world are the same everywhere. Its those damn welfare moms driving around in Cadillacs.
    Looks we found a way to shed legacy costs in the private sector by having a financial crisis. Now we need to take it a step further and end social security, medicaid, and medicare.
    We could afford to police the world in perpetuity if we just ended these three legacy programs now.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim Conkrite

      The problem in Libya is twofold. First, the peon masses were not given enough of the tiny sliver of resource reserved for them. Second, the debilitating fear of a brutal repression was not marketed significantly enough.
      However the end result will be the same for the American People. The American Peoples share of worlds resources used will increase. If you could see how the wealthy live, you might just sign up for iron fisted, dictatorships and puppet governments.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Major Tom

      In any case, the us military is retreating in Afghanistan. This will free up firepower for middle east revolutions.
      And in the US the economy is down but consumer sentiment is up. So the peception of what is happening in folks personal economies is the only important factor.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Ground Control

      If you have a long commute and have seen the price of gasoline at the pump, you may be saying " what about me?"
      Don't worry. Phil has assure us the caspian basin is pumping at full capacity thanks to the foresight of a few wise people at Carlyle.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Libya

    The help we need now is to establish a "Fly Free Zone on Libya".


    February 25, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Trevigiano

    It's very important that CNN, having world wide audience, at any service about riots, clearly always states that any public service is under public scrutiny, if one is King, PM, have a restaurant or a shopping mall, if public refuse his figure and he can't change public's mind, only resign and changing remain, nothing personal, this is the first law of democracy.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    I am Cesar, but Pablo and other Cesar I read your spanish blog, good deal. However, I am the original Cesar. When are you guys gonna stop using my name? I think you are starting to irritate some people. Anyway, yes, we need a good leader allied with Washington. The price of gas went up 6 cents over night. So let's stablize the region. Wake up Washington, and step to the plate.-The real Cesar. (You were so ugly as a baby that...never mind)

    February 25, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      No Phunnie boy,I'm the true Cesar here. I wish that you'd quit spewing your right-wing nonsense under my name. Anybody with half a brain knows thae we have no business sending our military over there!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar

    Pablo, you know that in order to have freedom and security throughout the Middle East, USA must have a hand in it for the betterment of the people. Understand, desgraciado?

    February 25, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • pablo

      Yeah I know. But you know they also need to just go in and invade and use their military strength to stop this. U.S. needs to invade and give the people freedom at all costs, who cares about politics anymore.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tomaz

    if anyone is called to linya to fight against or for gadaffi, last thing to say is it's "black people from sub sahara africa" as chris said on msnbc today before yesterday. There're so many racist things being done to all africans by these same people call gaddafi a monster. Always ready to bring justice to those they want to invade, but never correct themselves from tunisia, iraq, egypt, saudi arabia, ivory coast, congo sudan, etc. Bush has not face trial for what he did to the mideast. Where is justice, whereever there's oil we can use? Let's get real, democracy is a hook!!!!!!! Lol

    February 25, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Quite true Tomaz,quite true.

      February 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pablo

    Yes I understand and thanks for the desgraciado its very nice hearing that

    February 25, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. pablo

    Cesar the US has been always there but they have to be careful with civilians, the biggest problem is when you kill innocent people I know its collateral damage but these people don't see it that way, desgraciado

    February 25, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      We shouldn't see it that way either actually. Just shoot at anything that moves, use a lot of fear tactics until we win the country in the name of Western democracy.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |

      So Phunnie boy,by blogging under Cesar's name you're trying to say that you know more about what the Libyans want than the Libyans do themselves,not so???

      February 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
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