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

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs