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Libya revolts: Live updates

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 9:06 EDT
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THIS IS AN AFP LIVE BLOG OF THE LIBYAN UPRISING: POSTS TO CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE DAY…

Watch live coverage of the events in Libya from Al Jazeera English.

TRIPOLI (AFP) – 1650 GMT: Kadhafi threatens strikes against protesters like Tiananmen Square.

1649 GMT: Britain will send a charter flight to Libya and will deploy a Royal Navy frigate to help evacuate citizens caught up in unrest in the north African country, Foreign Secretary William Hague says.

1644 GMT: Kadhafi presses on with his live apparently unscripted speech consisting of short, angry bursts of words, which he has punctuated by shaking his fist or pointing his finger.

He is standing against the backdrop of what looks like a damaged building. Kadhafi, 68, is dressed in a matching light-brown robe, scarf and turban, and wearing glasses.

1640 GMT: Kadhafi says “Libyan oil should be distributed to all the people. You can take it and do whatever you want to do.”

1638 GMT: Kadhafi calls for Libya’s airports and ports to be reopened. “Bring back security,” he tells supporters.

1632 GMT: Kadhafi says he will “die a martyr in the land of my ancestors” and “I will fight to the last drop of my blood.”

“The Libyan people are with me. Capture the rats,” he said of anti-regime demonstrators. “Go out of your homes and storm them” wherever they are.

1626 GMT: Khadafi says armed protesters will face “death sentence.”

1624 GMT: Kadhafi says: “Do you want Libya to be like Somalia? It will lead to civil war if you do not apprehend them.”

1621 GMT: Kadhafi orders army and police to crush uprising.

1618 GMT: Kadhafi calls on his supporters to demonstrate tomorrow. “All the road blocks should be removed. Wake up come out of your homes. Chase them, disarm them, arrest them.”

1616 GMT: Kadhafi says: “These young people (in Benghazi) have been duped. They got them drunk, they got them drugged.”

1612 GMT: Kadhafi says: “If I were a president I would have resigned but I have no position to resign from.”

1610 GMT: Kadhafi calls for the formation of “new committees and new municipalities” on lines to be explained by (his son) Saif al-Islam.

1607 GMT: Kadhafi says: “I have no powers. Power is in the hand of the people’s committees. It is the Libyans who decide.”

1604 GMT: Kadhafi says: “A small group of people are circulating money and drugs to young people and trying to push them” to rebel.

1601 GMT: Kadhafi says: “We have fought the might of America and Britain and all the nuclear countries. We have fought the might of NATO. We will not surrender.”

1600 GMT: Kadhafi says: “I will die a martyr. I will not leave the honourable soil of this country.”

1557 GMT: Kadhafi says: “I am a fighter from the countryside. I fight in cities and towns. Libya will lead Africa and the world.”

1556 GMT: Kadhafi says he cannot step down as “I am not a president, I am a leader.”

1552 GMT: Kadhafi speaking on Libyan state TV

1550 GMT: The UN Security Council has begun emergency consultations on the Libyan crisis with Germany and other western nations pressing for “swift and clear” action.

Libyan diplomats who have broken with strongman leader Moamer Kadhafi and demanded the meeting are calling for a UN no-fly zone over the country and humanitarian action.

German ambassador Peter Wittig called the violence used by Kadhafi’s forces “really shocking.”

“It has regional and international implications. That is why we think it is a case for the Security Council and the council should act with a swift and clear message,” Wittig said going into the meeting.

1544 GMT: The uprising against Moamer Kadhafi in Libya is part of “a generational revolt”, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli ,the Catholic Church’s main representative in Libya has been quoted as saying by Italian religious news agency Misna.

He said religious communities in the country are “facing difficult times of shock because of the high number of injured people and the dramatic scenes”.

The report also quotes a Roman Catholic Catholic nun working in the city of Benghazi.

“We are continuing our work even though the situation in the city isn’t clear and it’s not clear who is really in control,” said Sister Elisabetta, a health worker from the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception.

“The police and the army have disappeared. Everyone is thinking about their own security, guarding their home, their shop, their neighbourhood,” she said. “I don’t know exactly how many people were injured or killed, but we know it’s a lot.”

1537 GMT: ‘Mayar’, who asks not to give her full name, tells AFP she frets in Benghazi over the safety of her relatives stuck in Libya’s capital, 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away.

“We are troubled by what’s going on in Tripoli. My brothers and sisters are living through a nightmare over there. My husband was unable to leave the capital. Tripoli is in a state of siege.”

In Benghazi, she says she witnessed “armed people assault ambulances and shoot at the crowd.”

“I was at the Al-Jalaa hospital where the situation was catastrophic. A hundred funeral processions left the hospital on Sunday,” Mayar says.

1531 GMT: In a telephone interview, ‘Osama’ in Benghazi tells AFP the security forces and demonstrators brought down the barracks of the presidential guard, Katiba Fadil Buama, after two hours of fighting on Monday night.

Osama, who introduced himself as a soldier, said he was detained in the barracks before youths set him free on Friday.

‘Mayar’, a resident of Al-Birkah, a neighbourhood in the southwest of Benghazi, said she is getting ready to join protests in support of Tripoli residents.

1527 GMT: “Combat may have ceased in Benghazi, Libya’s bloodiest frontline between armed forces and demonstrators, but the fear of more violence cast a chill over the city on Tuesday, residents tell AFP.

“There have been no clashes in Benghazi since Monday evening,” says a resident of the eastern coastal city who only gave his name as Osama.

1523 GMT: More from NBC’s Rixhard Engel: People taking uniforms and heavy weapons… At Tubruk military base..alll soldiers tell us they are with the people… Army switched sides in this area…” “Soldiers tell us they refuse to fire on own people..’our army like Egypt. Won’t kill its people’…

1517 GMT: The six Gulf Cooperation Council countries — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait — along with Jordan are set to spend $68 billion (49.6 billion euros) on defence in 2011, according to specialist research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Their spending is expected to reach nearly $80 billion in 2015.

The Abu Dhabi International Defence Exhibition, which describes itself as the largest defence and security event in the Middle East and North Africa, opened on Sunday and continues until Thursday.

1511 GMT: Announcing its latest death toll of 62 people killed in Tripoli in two days, Human Rights Watch says: “Anyone, including (Libyan leader) Moamer Kadhafi, ordering or carrying out atrocities should know they will be held individually accountable for their actions, including unlawful killings of protesters.”

HRW bases its death toll was based on emails received from two Tripoli hospitals listing victims of the unrest brought to their morgues since Sunday.

“We fear the death toll will rise much higher unless Kadhafi ends his bloody attempts to suppress dissent. He should call his forces including mercenaries off immediately,” says Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s head for Middle East and North Africa.

1508 GMT: Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi says OPEC is prepared to meet any shortage of supplies due to unrest in the Middle East and that its members have sufficient spare capacity to do so.

1504 GMT: Richard Engel of NBC is filing by Twitter from Libya. Here are some of his latest tweets:

thousands, (several, not tens) of Egyptians leaving, crossing back to Egypt… people still seem surprised that they’ve thrown out the gov’t. Mostly tribes taken overlots of informal checkpoints. men with hunting rifles, clubs… organized by tribes… people say shortages of rice, flour, sugar, oil…”… “big demo today in Tripoli…

1459 GMT: At least 62 people have been killed in the Libyan capital in clashes between demonstrators and security forces since Sunday, Human Rights Watch says.

1454 GMT: At least 62 dead in Tripoli since Sunday: HRW

1443 GMT: In New York, US stocks markets sank on opening on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 96.87 points (0.78 percent) to 12,289.53.

“The domino effect that is sweeping the Arab world is taking its toll on global financial markets,” said Kimberly DuBord of Briefing.com. “Risk assets are being sold off,” she said, pointing to moves toward US Treasuries, the dollar and gold.

1432 GMT: In Paris, the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), quoted human rights groups in Libya as saying a temporary morgue with capacity for 450 bodies has been set up next to the main hospital in Tripoli.

“A morgue has been set up in a school which is next to the main Sebiaa hospital. It has capacity for 450 bodies,” the IFHR chief told AFP.

1430 GMT: In New York, Germany is demanding that the UN Security Council take “swift and clear” action on the Libyan crisis as the body starts emergency consultations.

1422 GMT: US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman is calling on oil producers to boost output in a bid to ease crude prices, which struck $108 over unrest in the Middle East.

“We think that the proper response (to the high prices) is that producers respond to those price signals and see the need for more production and bring that product to the market,” Poneman has told reporters in Riyadh.

1421 GMT: Embattled leader Moamer Kadhafi is to speak to the Libyan people in a nationwide address, Libyan state television announced without giving a time.

1418 GMT: Around 4,000 demonstrators have crowded Tahrir Square in the centre of the Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah, the latest protest against the dominance of two major parties in the region.

1417 GMT: Kadhafi to address Libyan people: TV

1412 GMT: France is “scandalised by the shameless use of force” in the crackdown on an uprising in Libya, European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauqiez says in Tunis.

“As in the Arab world, we are overwhelmed by the violence and the suffering inflicted on the Libyan people,” he told a joint press conference with French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde.

“We are scandalised by the shameless use of force used to put down the demonstrations. These massacres cannot be carried out with impunity.”

1409 GMT: The Gulf Cooperation Council has denounced Libya for alleged “genocide” against civilian protesters who are demanding that strongman Moamer Kadhafi step down.

Abdulrahman al-Attiyah, the head of the group of six Gulf states, “strongly denounces acts of violence perpetrated by the Libyan regime against the Libyan people” who are being subject to “an act of genocide,” reads a statement on the GCC website.

1406 GMT: Oil jumps 8 percent in opening New York trade on Middle East worries.

1359 GMT: A doctor in Tripoli, who did not wish to be named, is quoted as having told the BBC: “I’m a medical doctor and I’m working in a hospital. I’ve seen a lot, a lot of people dying in front of me.”

“They force us to treat the regime or militia rather than our people. And there is a lot, a lot of dead people. It was a massacre, especially yesterday and the day before.”

1354 GMT: An Irish-Libyan politician whose step-brother was shot during anti-regime protests in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has told AFP of his family’s mixture of pride and sorrow at his death.

Hussein Hamed, who is a candidate in Friday’s elections in Ireland, said Abdul Kareem, a 20-year-old economics student at Benghazi University, died on Sunday in clashes with security forces.

“He was shot in front of the Republican Guard” as he was about to pick up a stone, Hamed says. “He was shot by some sort of anti-aircraft machine gun.”

Hamed, who fled Kadhafi’s regime and claimed asylum in Ireland, said he had been in a state of shock when his sister rang with the news. “The family are coping OK though their feelings are mixed,” he says.

“On the one hand they are proud that part of our family is fighting for the freedom of Libya, just like the French did 200 years ago, but we are also devastated at the death of a much loved son.”

The 49-year-old called for the international community to exert more pressure on Libya.

“We don’t want more bloodshed in Libya. We hope the bloodshed will stop today but this can’t happen unless Mr. Kadhafi leaves,” Hameed tells AFP. “We can then go to the ballot box like I am doing in Ireland.”

1353 GMT: The Netherlands will send a military transport plane to the Libyan capital Tripoli today to evacuate its nationals from the protest-hit nation, the defence ministry says.

1350 GMT: CNN cites a woman in Tripoli describing the scene this morning: “We heard a lot of gun shots, explosions, demonstrations and the sound of sirens.” The witness added that firefighters have not been able to extinguish a fire at the People’s Hall government building.

1343 GMT: Israeli President Shimon Peres says the anti-government protests sweeping the Arab world that have toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt are an “opportunity for peace” in the Middle East.

“We believe that the biggest guarantee of peace is having democracy in our neighbours. We are happy to witness this democratic revolution which is taking place in the Arab world,” he says in an address to the Spanish parliament.

1339 GMT: Protests in Egypt that led to the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak have left at least 384 people dead and 6,467 injured, according to newly-released health ministry figures.

“The latest count based on information from hospitals and health offices has shown that 384 have been martyred (while) 6467 have been treated for injuries in hospitals,” Health Minister Sameh Farid said in a statement.

Human rights groups say hundreds more remain missing, 11 days after Mubarak stood down.

1335 GMT: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit says he has requested military planes from the defence ministry to bring Egyptians home.

“Our main problem now is getting permits to land the planes in Libya, and this represents a huge problem…There are around 1.5 million Egyptians in Libya,” Abul Gheit told reporters after talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Cairo

1331 GMT: Greece has hartered a private tanker and made plans to airlift its nationals from Libya. The foreign ministry says tanker Minerva Antonia has sailed to Ra’s Lanuf harbour, near the city of Sirte and will begin taking Greeks on board tomorrow.

The ministry estimates about 300 Greeks are in Libya but notes that the number may change as many are employed in construction sites in the desert, hundreds of kilometres (miles) from the nearest airport.

1329 GMT: Spain’s biggest oil company, Repsol, has halted production in Libya as anti-government protests in the country spread, a company spokesman says.

1326 GMT: The UN refugee agency on Tuesday is urging countries near Libya, including in Europe, to keep their borders open as it braces itself for a flow of refugees fleeing violence.

“We are referring to all countries: we’re saying please no pushbacks at this stage, this is a time to show your humanitarian spirit and generosity towards people who are going through some severe trauma,” Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), says.

Fleming tells AFP no mass refugee flows from Libya have been detected so far but that close contact is being kept with authorities in border countries such as Tunisia.

1321 GMT: Tunisia’s national air carrier Tunisair tells AFP it is is awaiting the green light from Libyan authorities to send in planes to evacuate more Tunisian nationals amid deteriorating security.

About 3,600 Tunisians living in neighbouring Libya have fled the country since Sunday.

“Two planes for (central) Sebha and five others for Tripoli are scheduled for today,” a Tunisair spokeswoman said, adding that together they could carry 1,175 passengers.

1317 GMT: In Manama, tens of thousands of supporters of Bahrain’s Shiite-led opposition have poured into the streets calling for the government’s downfall in the largest rally in more than a week of protests.

Streets of the capital are clogged with protesters marching towards Pearl Square, the focal point of anti-regime protests, AFP correspondent Ali Khalil reports.

1313 GMT: “I can hear some planes overhead. The people are terrified. People from Benghazi tried to enter Tripoli but were stopped at Sirte, said the BBC correspondent, whose name was not given for security reasons.

1312 GMT: A BBC correspondent in Libya says a big demonstration is planned in Tripoli for the early hours of the evening.

1306 GMT: Here’s a reminder that the Paris-based the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR) says Benghazi, Libya’s second city and an opposition stronghold in the east, has fallen to anti-regime demonstrators.

It has also said protesters control Sirte, Tobruk in the east, as well as Misrata, Khoms, Tarhounah, Zenten, Al-Zawiya and Zouara, closer to the capital.

1301 GMT: Souhayr Belhassen, head of the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), quotes witnesses as saying militias and security forces loyal to Kadhafi are “breaking down doors and pillaging” to quell the revolt.

“It is impossible to remove the corpses from the road, we are shot at from above,” one witness has been quoted as telling a Libyan rights group.

1253 GMT: The clip of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s appearance on state television early today has been timed at 22 seconds. Just enough time for him to give the excuse which will surely become a classic: “Were it not for the rain, I would have addressed the young people at Green Square and spent the night with them to prove I am still in Tripoli.”

1249 GMT: Hundreds of foreigners, mostly from Tunisia but also Egypt, are scrambling for flights out of Tripoli, people at the airport say.

“The airport is bursting at the seams. People spent last night there … It’s a mess,” says a Tunisian engineer contacted by telephone.

1246 GMT: Britain’s prestigious London School of Economics has cut ties with the Libyan leader’s son, Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, after a violent crackdown on protests in Libya, a spokeswoman tells AFP.

Professor David Held, an academic at the university who knew Moamer Khadafi’s son when he studied there says he was “deeply disturbed” by the former student’s condemnation of anti-regime protests.

“Rather than seeing the opportunity for reform based on liberal democratic values and human rights, Seif al-Islam Khadafi stressed the threat of civil war and foreign intervention,” Held says.

1244 GMT: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit says Cairo is facing difficulties repatriating up to 1.5 million Egyptians trapped amid the violent uprising in Libya.

1238 GMT: Global stock markets are diving as sentiment is rocked by violent unrest in Libya and soaring oil prices, while the safe-haven US dollar has gained ground against rival currencies.

“The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are continuing to spread across the region. It seems to be Libya’s turn now. These developments cause a high degree of uncertainty,” said Commerzbank analyst Ulrich Leuchtmann.

London’s FTSE 100 index of top shares tumbled 1.19 percent to 5,943.21 points in late morning deals, the Paris CAC 40 plunged 1.62 percent to 4,031.28 and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 retreated 0.47 percent to 7,286.98 points.

Oil prices have surged past $108 as Libyan output was hit by violent protests and concerns grew over spreading unrest in the strategic crude-producing Middle East and North Africa area.

1237 GMT: US calls for more oil production to curb soaring prices amid Libya unrest.

1234 GMT: Britain is not as yet sending any chartered aircraft to Libya to evacuate nationals. “At this stage we do have a range of contingency plans,” a Foreign Office spokesman tells AFP.

Asked about sending planes, he says: “We are not doing that yet. We are monitoring the situation.”

1233 GMT: Cairo hard-pressed getting Egyptians out of Libya: foreign minister

1230 GMT: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has told a delegation of visiting US senators that Arab leaders should tune in to their people’s needs, state-run SANA news agency reports.

As anti-regime revolts rock several Arab nations, Assad said it is necessary “to better understand the will of the people and to carry out policies that reflect” their demands, SANA says.

1226 GMT: “The people want the fall of the regime,” protesters in Manama are chanting, as they wave red-and-white Bahraini flags.

Women in black veils are among people joining in the chants against Bahrain monarch Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa.

“May your hands be paralysed, Hamad,” they shout.

“Down down Khalifa,” the crowds are also chanting, condemning Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, the uncle of king Hamad who has been in office since 1971 and who is widely despised by the Shiites.

1224 GMT: In Bahrain, thousands of supporters of the Gulf state’s Shiite-led opposition have begun an anti-regime demonstration which organisers expect to be the largest since protests broke out last week.

“The march of loyalty to martyrs” reads a large banner at the front of the demonstration, which is heading from Manama’s Bahrain Mall to Pearl Square in the city centre, focal point of anti-government protests since February 14.

1220 GMT: Arab unrest could mean “fires for years and the spread of extremism in the future. We need to look this straight in the eyes,” adds Medvedev, speaking at an anti-terror meeting in the city of Vladikavkaz.

1212 GMT: Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Libya’s sovereign debt rating, a day after its counterpart Fitch did the same amid growing unrest in the oil-rich nation.

Standard & Poor’s has lowered its long-term Libya rating from A- to BBB+, while also placing it on creditwatch with a view to a further downgrade in the near future.

1208 GMT: More from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay: “The callousness with which Libyan authorities and their hired guns are reportedly shooting live rounds of ammunition at peaceful protestors is unconscionable.”

“I am extremely worried that lives are being lost even as I speak,” she says in a statement.”

“The international community must unite in condemnation of such acts and make unequivocal commitments to ensure justice is rendered to the thousands of victims of this repression,” Pillay says.

1206 GMT: The unrest in the Middle East risks bringing fanatics to power and triggering the disintegration of Arab states into “little pieces”, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says.

1200 GMT: Arab states risk ‘disintegrating into little pieces’: Medvedev

1154 GMT: Jordan has called on the Libyan authorities to stop the “bloodshed”.

“Jordan rejects targeting and bombarding civilians… The bloodshed in Libya must immediately stop,” foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Kayed says in a statement.

1151 GMT: CNN cites a man in the Gargaresh suburb of western Tripoli as saying there is a shortage of food in the area. He told the news network a number of petrol stations are closed because they ran out of fuel but Tripoli residents believe the fuel outage is another tactic by the regime to limit people’s ability to move around.

1147 GMT: In Yemen, thousands of protesters took to the streets in several neighbourhoods of the southern city of Aden, calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, witnesses say.

Security forces fired warning shots to disperse protesters in Sheikh Osman, Al-Tawahi and Mualla neighbourhoods, but no casualties were reported, the witnesses told AFP.

According to an AFP tally based on reports by medics, 12 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in Aden since February 16.

1145 GMT: Bangladesh says the Libyan ambassador to Dhaka had resigned, apparently in protest at the crackdown on anti-government protesters by Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.

“We have received a note from the Libyan embassy that its ambassador Ahmed A.H. Elimam has resigned,” Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes has told AFP.

1142 GMT: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns Libyan authorities against making the “mistake” of ignoring the people’s demands for democracy and freedom.

“One must not fall into the mistake of turning a blind eye to the people’s demands for democracy and freedoms. The Libyan administration must not commit such a mistake,” Erdogan says in a speech to his lawmakers in parliament.

“Ruthless interventions against those who voice democratic demands will increase the spiral of violence… The spread of growing violence to the whole of Libya is dangerous,” he tells MPs.

1135 GMT: More from UK PM Cameron’s speech in Kuwait: “Violence is not the answer to people’s legitimate aspirations. Using force cannot resolve grievances, only multiply them,” he says.

Reform is “a key part of the antidote of the extremism that threatens the security of us all.”

Cameron is leading a trade delegation to the Middle East. He today agreed with the Kuwaiti government to double bilateral trade and investment, currently worth £2 billion ($3.2 billion, 2.4 billion euros), by 2015.

Members of the trade delegation include Ian King, chief executive of aerospace and defence manufacturer BAe, and senior executives of various British oil and construction companies.

1131 GMT: France sends three planes to Tripoli to evacuate nationals: minister

1128 GMT: The UN Security Council has scheduled a meeting for 1400 GMT over the bloody crackdown by authorities in Libya after the world body’s secretary-general pleaded with Moamer Kadhafi to halt the violence.

Today’s meeting has been requested by Libya’s deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, one of several senior diplomats in the United Nations and elsewhere to have deserted Kadhafi.

1127 GMT: A diplomat working in Libya’s embassy in Morocco has resigned to protest the “daily extermination of the (Libyan) people,” he tells AFP.

“I announce to you that I no longer represent this regime. It is a regime that is carrying out a daily extermination of the people,” says Azeddine Louaj, who works in the press service of the embassy in Rabat.

1123 GMT: Westfield Securities oil industry analyst David Hart says: “As events in Libya have turned more violent, the impact on the country’s output is beginning to be affected, as producers there begin pulling out staff due to safety concerns.”

“Given that Libya is a major oil producer and exporter, this is having a more significant impact on oil prices than previous unrest,” he says.

1119 GMT: The European Union is ready to lend “six billion euros” to neighbouring states undergoing democratic reform in its southern Mediterranean rim, European Investment Bank President Philippe Maystadt says.

“We are ready to do more if necessary to help these countries in their transition towards democracy,” he says.

1115 GMT: In North Africa and the Middle East, “people are seeking their rights and in the vast majority of cases they are doing so peacefully,” the UK premier says at a press conference shown on BBC TV.

1113 GMT: “Aspirations are stirring which have lain dormant,” UK Prime Minister David Cameron says on a visit to Kuwait.

1104 GMT: United Arab Emirates energy minister Mohammad bin Dhaen al-Hamli says OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) is “watching the situation and ready to act when necessary.”

Speaking in Riyadh, he says OPEC is concerned about the developments in Libya “because it is a member of OPEC and a major oil producer.”

However, Hamli declines to say when OPEC might act.

1059 GMT: Human Rights Watch estimates that 233 people have been killed in the Libyan uprising while the International Federation for Human Rights puts the toll at between 300 and 400.

1057 GMT: The UN Security Council and Arab League have both scheduled meetings for today to discuss the bloody crackdown by Libyan authorities.

1053 GMT: Residents of two districts in Tripoli tell AFP by telephone that there was “a massacre” last night, with gunmen “firing indiscriminately” in Tajura district.

Another in Fashlum says helicopters landed with what he called African mercenaries who opened fire on anyone in the street, killing many people.

A Latin American expatriate living in Tripoli’s upscale Gargaresh suburb reports seeing several burnt tyres and a torched truck and car during a brief outing yesterday.

“We passed a barricade manned by men armed with Kalashnikovs. I was very scared, they had arrested a couple of Africans,” he tells AFP.

1050 GMT: Libya’s state-run Al-Jamahiriya Two television network is continuing to deny reports that the air force strafed protesters last night.

“They say there are massacres in several cities, towns and neighbourhoods of Libya. We must fight against these rumours and lies which are part of psychological warfare,” says a red ticker on the bottom of television screens.

This information “aims to destroy your morale, your stability and your riches,” it adds.

1044 GMT: The BBC cites a doctor in Benghazi as saying local people have taken control and have formed committee to run the eastern Libyan city.

“No presence of the state there. No police, no army and no public figures,” the BBC quotes Dr Ahmad Bin Tahir as saying.

1040 GMT: Oil prices strike $108 as Libyan production is hit by violent protests and concerns grow over spreading unrest in the strategic crude-producing Middle East and North Africa region.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April surges to $108.57 per barrel, highest since September 4, 2008

1038 GMT: Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says Iraq supports the rights of Arabs to demonstrate and calls on regional countries to refrain from using “unjustified bloody confrontation” in suppressing dissent.

1036 GMT: Turkish PM warns Libya against ‘mistake’ of disregarding people’s demands

1035 GMT: Russia risks losing up to $10 billion (7.4 billion euros) in arms sales from the wave of unrest currently sweeping north Africa and the Middle East, a weapons industry official tells Interfax newsagency.

1028 GMT: In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters armed with daggers and batons clashed heavily with students in the capital Sanaa today, wounding five before police intervened, an AFP reporter says.

About 1,000 students spent a second night camped at a square, which they have dubbed Al-Huriya (Liberty) Square, near Sanaa university demanding Saleh resign.

The crowd swelled to about 4,000 and as the protesters moved from the square close to where Saleh’s loyalists are bunkered down, the group attacked them with daggers and batons, our reporter says.

1027 GMT: Greece says it is preparing to airlift its nationals from Libya. Deputy foreign minister Dimitris Dollis says Athens was seeking permission to access airports at Benghazi, Tripoli, Sebha and Sirte and evacuate an unspecified number of Greeks out of some 300 present in the country.

1022 GMT: In case you missed it earlier, here are details of Kadhafi’s appearance on Libyan state television overnight:

Kadhafi, 68, made a brief appearance on state television to scotch “malicious rumours” that he has abandoned the oil-rich North African nation he has ruled for more than four decades.

“Were it not for the rain, I would have addressed the young people at Green Square and spent the night with them to prove I am still in Tripoli and not in Venezuela,” said Libya’s strongman.

The television said it was a live broadcast from outside his home.

“It’s just to prove that I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela and to deny television reports, those dogs,” Kadhafi said as he stood under a silver umbrella while about to step into a car.

Rain lashed Tripoli on Monday evening.

1021 GMT: Several districts of Tripoli are calm today, including Tajoura, scene of violent clashes yesterday, witnesses tell AFP by telephone.

1018 GMT: In Iran, security forces have raided the homes of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi and his two sons and arrested his son Ali, the cleric’s website reports.

1015 GMT: Dozens of protesters storm the Libyan consulate in Dubai, burning portraits of Moamer Kadhafi and demanding the North African state’s leader step down.

1013 GMT: More than 1,000 Chinese construction workers in Libya have been forced to flee after gun-wielding robbers stormed their compound, stealing computers and luggage, the company and Chinese media say.

The looters raided Huafeng Company’s compound in the eastern city of Ajdabiyah, the Beijing News said, citing the Chinese embassy in Tripoli and a friend of one of the employees.

1010 GMT: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says the Libyan authorities “should immediately cease illegal acts of violence against demonstrators. Widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity.”

1007 GMT: Italy is to send a C-130 air force plane to Libyatoday to evacuate Italian nationals, a foreign ministry official tells AFP. Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa says the plane is headed to Benghazi.

1003 GMT: The UN’s human rights chief warns Libyan authorities that systematic and widespread attacks against the civilian population could be “crimes against humanity.”

Follow this live report for a minute-by-minute update of events as they happen in Libya, North Africa and the Middle East.

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  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    [no censorship]

  • Johnny Warbucks

    The Benghazi Airport has been totally destroyed. The bodies are surfacing everywhere, mutilated beyond recognition which is indicative of heavy artillery shells they claim. There have been reports of goons shooting at the protesters from helicopters with machine guns. The Madman of Tripoli also threatened to go house by house, arresting people and promised ‘the punishment will not be swift.’ The whole time he’s claiming that the people love him and they want him to stay and defend him. The entire speech was worthy of someone at a high security mental asylum. What a horror show! In the meantime, those poor people are being slaughtered by the scores. Still, they keep on fighting. I can only hope that they pull a Cecescu on him. It’s the least the bastard has earned.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ hounddogg

    Kadhafi (lame) duck!…

  • Anonymous

    The Reign of Qaddafi
    Dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi has ruled Libya with an iron fist since 1969 and now faces an exit from power as citizens continue violent demonstrations. http://www.newslook.com/videos/292686-the-reign-of-qaddafi?autoplay=true

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5QR7LWWOG7YD64W52TBUQ3RDEM Teddy
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