News / Africa

Libyan Opposition Moves Westward, as Bloody Uprising Continues

A Libyan doctor treats a wounded man who was injured last week during the demonstration against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, in Benghazi, Libya, February 24, 2011
A Libyan doctor treats a wounded man who was injured last week during the demonstration against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, in Benghazi, Libya, February 24, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continue to attack anti-government protesters, but the opposition groups appear to be gaining more of a foothold, despite the brutal crackdown.

The official picture coming out of Libya is far different from the one presented by Libyan civilians.

Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, downplayed reports of casualties when he appeared on Libyan state television Thursday to discuss the uprising.

He said only a small number of people had died, but he did not provide a figure. And he invited foreign media to tour Libya Friday, challenging them to find evidence of bombings or brutality.

Hundreds killed, say sources

But hospital sources, human rights groups and witnesses tell a far bloodier story.  

"I can't manage [to say] how many dead exactly, more than 300 in Benghazi, and injured more than 3,000," said Dr. Hisham Mustafa Abou Dabous, a physician at a hospital in the now opposition-controlled eastern city of Benghazi, where the revolt began.

While much of the east is reported to be under opposition control, the revolt against Gadhafi is spreading westward toward the capital, Tripoli.Witnesses told foreign media that the Libyan army attacked anti-government protesters in a mosque in the city of Zawiya Thursday. They described heavy casualties after security forces used anti-aircraft missiles and automatic weapons.

Slide show of latest situation in Libya

Clashes in Misrata

Multiple witnesses say opposition protesters have driven security forces out of the coastal city of Misrata, but there are also reports of ongoing clashes there.

A Libyan protester holds up a sign against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi during a demonstration, in Tobruk, Libya, February 23, 2011
A Libyan protester holds up a sign against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi during a demonstration, in Tobruk, Libya, February 23, 2011

Moammar Gadhafi addressed Libyans via telephone on Libyan state television Thursday afternoon.  He said the uprising is the work of al-Qaida, and he accused anti-government protesters of being trigger-happy teenagers and drug addicts.

Senior Libyan government officials have said they view journalists who enter the country without permission as al-Qaida collaborators. It is difficult to independently confirm accounts coming out of the region.  

Gadhafi appears to be losing sway within the international community and within his own circle of influence. One of Gadhafi’s closest aides, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, defected in protest of the fierce crackdown on demonstrators.

Libya sanctions

The U.S. government has condemned the ongoing violence. European Union nations have agreed to discuss possible sanctions against Libya. Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said, if the crackdown continues, sanctions are inevitable.

Speaking after a meeting with Arab League chief Amr Moussa in Cairo Thursday, Westerwelle again denounced the violent suppression of the Libyan people.

"We cannot accept that a dictator is really punishing in such a violent way his own people, the young people of Libya," said Westerwelle. "This is a war of a dictator against the young people. And this is something which we condemn absolutely, in a clear language."

Italy’s Interior Minister Ernesto Roberto Maroni is calling on EU nations to provide urgent help in coping with what he called "a catastrophic humanitarian crisis" that is building in Libya. Interior ministers from Mediterranean countries are discussing ways to handle the flow of refugees.

Libyan anti-government protesters are calling for major rallies against Gadhafi’s rule on Friday.

Protests continue in Yemen

Anti-government protestors chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, February 24, 2011
Anti-government protestors chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, February 24, 2011

Elsewhere in the region, protests continued Thursday in Yemen’s capital Sana’a.

They denounced the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and called for him to leave.

Yemen's president has ordered security forces to prevent direct confrontations between pro-government and anti-government demonstrators, after video circulated of clashes between rival protesters while police stood aside.  Two anti-government protesters were killed in Sana’a this week.

Meanwhile, Egypt is in a state of transition, nearly two weeks after a popular uprising forced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Security officials Thursday said Egyptian authorities have arrested the former information minister and the head of state broadcasting for alleged corruption.

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

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid