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. Dan

    It seems to me that Republicans should be praising Obama for his community organizing and inspirational effect he has had on America to lead the way in this new world push for Democracy across the Middle East. This is his type of warfare without firing a single bullet.
    But nooooo.... Republcians are too stupid to figure this out that it is a good thing. They still opt to believe the conspiracy theories inspired by fear mongering talk show hosts that it is actually Al Queda at work.
    Let me ask the Republicans once and for all –
    Are you, or are you not, for Democracy in the Middle East?

    February 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    Abc

    February 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    Hey who is calling me a dog?

    February 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    Hey CNN, I am the real Cesar since last year. Look at my e-mail. Now look at dumbo's. See the difference? Now I tell jokes, he is a bore. A dog walks into a bar and says, "I'm looking for the man that shot my paw."

    February 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    @Cesar 6:18, You're out of order! This thread's out of order! The whole blog is out of order!! I protest!!

    February 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. abby

    Gadhafi, people will sing, dance and be happy on your grave.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chloe's comments

    Gadhafi, people will sing, dance and be happy on your grave.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chrishatesyou

    this proves that liberalism truly is a mental disorder. thank God i'm a republican because if i were a dem i'd have thrown myself off a bridge.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. michelle

    Ok, enough is enough! Someone needs to go in and take out this mad clown and his hired killers.This isn't a war, it's one family that needs to meet they're maker.They have him in a corner , the UN needs to give the go ahead and do the Libyans a favor and kill this guy already.As the US seem's to slow to act to protect the people but ready to protect their oil.Shame on the US,and we wonder why people hate us..How many people have to die while we wait to be politically correct?

    February 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • allfaith

      Okay, so we go in and kill a few innocents, create a dependence, shell out a few billion dollars, pat ourselves on the back and then leave a vacuum to be filled by the next dictator.
      Maybe we should just offer our support.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. michelle

    Ok, enough is enough! Someone needs to go in and take out this mad clown and his hired killers.This isn't a war, it's one family that needs to meet they're maker.They have him in a corner , the UN needs to give the go ahead and do the Libyans a favor and kill this guy already.As the US seem's to slow to act to protect the people of Libya but ready to protect their oil.Shame on the US,and we wonder why people hate us..How many people have to die while we wait to be politically correct?

    February 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mr jones

    If you have an open mind check out alternative news source infowars.com, it might not have all the facts but It's pretty darn close.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DesertDwellingMuslim

    Yeah you're soldiers are gay America! Never mind the fact that we would rather hold and kiss a man in public instead of our wives. Look that way not this way. 😉 Now where's my speedo and biker outfit?...

    February 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • allfaith

      Is that you John? Yeh, it's got to be you. How's Mississippi?

      February 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DesertDwellingMuslim

    Hi allfaith. Stoning children, slavery and a violent vengeful god contradict the very essence of a kind noble being. All the knowledge in the Universe can not be summed up in a few books. The religions use pagan rituals like sacrificing a lamb for their bloodthirsty God. In my opinion the worshiped deities are either enablers to satan or in league with satan. Who eats lambs in nature? A wolf.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • allfaith

      If we're all part of everything (God) then it sounds like you don't trust yourself to be yourself. No-one is better at being you than you. Accept it.
      I wish you peace in the moment.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. i rock

    PSSSS. .thats the sound of me whizzin on these countries that think the radicals can start something they cant finish. .suck it up chuckers dont expect the rest of us to come and hold ur hand

    February 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. biglips

    You are right!

    February 25, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
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