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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid