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. Cesar

    @Pablo, True, we don't want to hurt innocent people, but you know, wise Pablo, that many terrorists hide within innocent people for protection, using them as human shields. Appreciate your point of view though, desgraciado.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • pablo

      That's a good point, they do hide there. Just kill them all then I guess, better safe than sorry, desgraciado.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    Maybe we will get involved to stop the madness in Lybia, but we need to make sure that all U.S. citizens are safe and far away from Lybia. What does everyone think would happen to americans if we conducted air strikes. I also think that Gadhafi is blaming Osama Bin Laden because he thinks we're stupid enough to beleive that and we would jump in and help him. But just like everyone else, I don't know. There sure is alot of people assuming alot on here. Slow down and don't assume you know the whole plan. It's easy to run off at the mouth of "What you would do" but who says any of us truly knows what we're talking about. You're here... not there

    February 25, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      For crying out loud Phunnie boy,will you stop vomiting your your right-wing nonsense under my name? You know better than what you posted above and so should anybody else with half a brain! So quit trying to make me look stupid!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. pablo

    Cesar otra vez hay un marica usando my nombre yo solo escribi a las 11:24

    February 25, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Este desgraciado hace lo mismo a mi tambien !como se vea claramente arriba!

      February 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    @Pablo, I appreciate your sarcastic tone, truly appropriate, desgraciado.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    @Pablo, si y ese way habla el languaje.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. pablo

    Who are you talking to ruffnutt

    February 25, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. pablo

    Take it easy ruffnutt, remember last time?

    February 25, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. pablo

    You had a very ruff time with mohamad

    February 25, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Seymour

    Where's Anderson Cooper? Doesn't he have a fight in this one too? Come on man get your vest and head out in to some real trouble.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pablo

    I understand and I can notice he's an ashol

    February 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Duh

    One dumb bass. All different names. Your own public message board.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Duh mer

    We don't have any weapon factories in Libya do we?

    February 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fu9l

    We should help these people obama is pulling a bush on this one sitting on his thumb and doing nothing.. he has no balls to do the right think by those people or us by the united states halping them we will have a strong hold in lybia and the people will love us for helping them givving us a in in the arab world showing our support for them would be a truly grat day for the people of both the united states and lybia showing the other arab states we can help them and are willing to go the extra mile for them unlike in the past... after all obama seems not to care because he dosent have to pay for fuel we pay it for him and always will ..... we need to help them and show the arab world we can do the right thing and get them democracy and get rid of the religous weinnies in thwe process ...

    February 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      What can be done to deal with Ghadafi?Well send those lybian military already diserted to bomb him in his hole in tripoli.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ThomasD

    Good Lord. 'Sing, dance, and be happy.' The man is whacked.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    We need an American military base in Libyan soil. This will spread our influence beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones, Marines, US Air Force; We must maintain stability. The past chaos in the Middle East has caused our gas prices to rise 6 cents over night. Wake up Washington, get involved! Go freedom of the people, freedom of the press, and go U.S. Marines!!!

    February 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Come on Phunnie boy,so you think that we should send out troops in there to kill more people as though there hasn't been enough killing already and then set up another Hosni Mubarak there to take orders from the right-wing thugs in Washington! Spare us your ignorance,will you???

      February 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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