News / Middle East

Libyan Death Toll Mounts as Protests Continue in Region

Libyan protesters shout slogans against Libyan leader Gadhafi in front of the Libyan embassy in Kuala Lumpur on February 23, 2011.
Libyan protesters shout slogans against Libyan leader Gadhafi in front of the Libyan embassy in Kuala Lumpur on February 23, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

Reports coming out of Libya indicate government-sanctioned violence against protesters is intensifying during a widening revolt.  The international community has denounced the violence, while Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has threatened death for anyone who takes up arms against him.

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters in Rome Wednesday that there are credible reports that about 1,000 people have been killed in Libya's ongoing crackdown.  

There are reports that anti-government protesters have gained control of some Libyan cities, such as Bayda and Benghazi.  Frattini says he has heard this is the case in parts of eastern Libya, though he notes that information from the region is far from complete.  

"But as far as I know from our embassy, the province of east Cyrenaica is lost to the control of the government of Tripoli while in the other areas there are, I would say, riots, there are people shooting, it is a difficult situation. And unfortunately what we want is that the government ceases immediately the violence," Frattini said.

Restraint urged

Michael Mandelbaum, professor of American Foreign Policy at John Hopkins University, discusses U.S. response to unrest in North Africa, Mideast:

The Arab League, the United Nations, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others have urgently called for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to show restraint.  

Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in the U.S., told reporters late Tuesday that he would be very surprised if Gadhafi manages to hold on to power.

He said Libya's strongman only has the allegiance of a part of the army, which Abrams said is weak and fractured.  

"The army has been disorganized in Libya for a long time, I think, partially because Gadhafi came to power in a coup and doesn't want a coup to repeat itself against him," Abrams said. "So the army is already weak, and the army is already split along geographical and tribal lines." 

In a rambling speech Tuesday, Gadhafi vowed to battle on, and he called on his supporters to fight those who challenge his more than four-decade rule.

Anti-government protests also continue elsewhere in the region.

Yemen protests


Video from Yemen's capital, Sana'a, shows pro-government groups firing upon pro-reform protesters outside Sana'a University Tuesday night.  At least one person was reported killed and 38 others injured in the clashes.

New York-based Human Rights Watch says witnesses report that Yemeni police allowed the government-allied demonstrators to attack the protesters outside the university.  

Activists in Yemen have staged daily protests since February 11 to call for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.  

Bahrain

In Bahrain, where reform-seeking demonstrators have also mounted rallies, the Sunni monarchy is making concessions to the protesters.  

Cheers erupted Wednesday when authorities released some activists who had been detained in recent demonstrations.  More than 20 Shi'ites who were accused of trying to topple the Sunni-led government were also freed.  In another concession, the monarchy is allowing activists to hold peaceful protests.   More than 100,000 people marched in the capital, Manama on Tuesday.

 

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid