The protests against repressive regimes has taken a violent turn over the last three days with police, the military and some armed counter protesters shooting and beating the unarmed, peaceful demonstrators in Bahrain, Libya and other countries in the region. Yesterday Human Rights Watch has reported at 173 protesters have been killed over the last five days in Libya and reports from hospitals there say 20 more were killed on Sunday. Other sources are putting the death toll at over 200. Reporting is hampered because journalists and the news media has been barred. The US is relying on reports from the HRW and other observers. News coming in from CNN say that [Benghazi now in the hands of Libyan protesters and that some of the military has now gone over to supporting the protest. CNN has reports coming from citizens, on the ground in Libya, calling the network.
Saif el Islam, Gaddafi’s son spoke on Libyan state TV. It is unknown if the telecast was live or taped.
Clashes between anti-government protesters and Gaddafi supporters escalate, as army unit ‘defects’ in Benghazi
Saif el Islam, Gaddafi’s son speaking live on Libyan television says there is a plot to break Libya into small Islamic states.
While admitting that the army and police made mistakes during protests, he said reported death tolls were exaggerated.
He warned of a civil war that will burn Libya’s oil wealth and of a “foreign conspiracy by fellow Arabs” set in motion against Libya.
He said protesters have seized control of some military bases and tanks.
Appearing on Libyan state television Sunday night, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi warned of civil war in the country that would burn its oil wealth.
He also acknowledged that the army made mistakes during protests because troops were not prepared to battle demonstrators.
Address comes as security forces have shot dead scores of protesters in Libya’s second largest city, where residents said a military unit had joined their cause.
Up Date: 2/21 @ 0200hrs EST:
Rights Advocate Warns Massacre Looming in Libya
An official of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said her organization is increasingly concerned and seriously alarmed about what she described as the ongoing murder of unarmed protesters who are demanding reforms in Libya.
Heba Fatma Morayef, researcher for the Rights Organization for Egypt and Libya, told VOA it appears is behind the shootings deaths of the unarmed protesters since the Tunisian and Egyptian-inspired protests in the North African country.
“The overall death toll now is at 223 and that is just in the previous days. Regardless of who is doing the shooting, in this case, whether its mercenaries, whether its plainclothes individuals with weapons, the responsibility remains (for) the state to protect the demonstrators,” said Morayef.
Oil Rises as Libya Violence Prompts Middle East Supply Concern
Oil for April delivery rose for a fourth day in New York as violence escalated in Libya, bolstering concern supplies will be disrupted as turmoil spreads through the Middle East and North Africa.
Crude gained as much as 2.2 percent after Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son warned that a civil war would risk the country’s oil wealth. Security forces have launched attacks on anti-government protesters, killing more than 200 people, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. The North African nation, holder of the largest crude reserves on the continent, pumped 1.6 million barrels a day of oil in January, equivalent of about 8 percent of U.S. consumption.
US condemns Libya crackdown
Top US and EU diplomats denounce violence against protesters but stop short of calling for a change of government.
Western countries have expressed concern at the rising violence against demonstrators in Libya.
The United States said it was deeply concerned by credible reports of hundreds of deaths and injuries during protests in Libya, and urged the government to allow demonstrators to protest peacefully.
“The United States is gravely concerned with disturbing reports and images coming out of Libya,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “We have raised to a number of Libyan officials … our strong objections to the use of lethal force against peaceful demonstrators.”
The State Department said US embassy dependents were being encouraged to leave Libya and US citizens were urged to defer nonessential travel to the country.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice spoke out against brutal crackdowns on protesters in Libya and Bahrain but stopped short of calling for a change of government in any of the countries facing large protests.
Gaddafi’s son warns of civil war
Appearing on Libyan state television, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi says his father is in the country and has support of army.
A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has promised a programme of reforms after bloody protests against his father’s rule reached the capital, Tripoli.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi also hit out at those behind the violence. He said protests against his father’s rule, which have been concentrated in the east of the country, threatened to sink Libya into civil war and split the country up into several small states.
Gaddafi’s turbulent US relations
Libya has become a key player despite decades-long image of political pariah.
A weedy, overgrown backyard in Englewood, New Jersey seemed likely for a time last week to become the scene of the latest flashpoint in Libyan-US relations.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, is planning his first visit to the US since he seized power in a military coup 40 years ago. He is set to address the yearly UN General Assembly in September.
Now, wherever the long-time Libyan leader goes, he likes to take a little bit of Libya with him – in the form of a huge, air-conditioned Bedouin-style tent. He pitched his pavilion in the Kremlin during a visit to Moscow. In Rome, the tent sat prominently in a public park.
Gaddafi initially planned to set up camp in Manhattan’s Central Park, but Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, said no dice. So a squadron of gardeners and construction workers descended on the dilapidated estate of Libya’s UN ambassador in lovely Englewood, a suburb of 30,000 people with a large Orthodox Jewish community.
You can guess what happened next. Protests were organised. Petitions were passed around. Lawsuits flew hither and yon.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Gaddafi backed down. There will be no tent party in Englewood, and the Colonel will stick to Manhattan on his visit.
Tunisia seeks Ben Ali’s extradition
Officials have formally requested the extradition of former president from Saudi Arabia, where he fled last month.
The 74-year-old former leader is reportedly very ill in hospital after suffering a stroke. Rumours are rife that the former leader might be dead.
Moroccans march to seek change
Demonstrators demand large-scale political and economic reforms in the North African kingdom.
Calls for change sweeping the Arab world have now spread to the kingdom of Morocco, where thousands of people have taken to the streets in the capital to demand a new constitution.
The demonstrators shouted slogans calling for economic opportunity, educational reform, better health services and help in coping with rising living costs during the march on central Hassan II Avenue in Rabat on Sunday.
A protest organiser said the turnout at the rally was more than 5,000. But police said fewer than 3,000 people had marched.
Many in the crowd waved Tunisian and Egyptian flags, in recognition of the uprisings that toppled the two country’s long-standing rulers.
Algerian police break up protest
Several people are injured and others are arrested as police thwart pro-democracy rally in capital Algiers, reports say.
Algerian police in riot gear have used batons to break up a crowd of hundreds of opposition supporters trying to take part in a protest march inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.
Police brandishing clubs, but no firearms, weaved their way through the crowd in central Algiers on Saturday, banging their shields, tackling some protesters and keeping traffic flowing through the planned march route.
Reports of new protests in Iran
Security forces clashed with anti-government protesters and briefly detained the daughter of Iran’s former president.
There are reports of renewed anti-government protests in Iran, with demonstrators taking to the streets in several cities across the country.
There have also been clashes between protesters and security forces, posts on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter said on Sunday. There were also reports of one protester being shot dead in Tehran, a story denied by government official in state media.
The official IRNA reported that Faezeh Rafsanjani, the daughter of ex-president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been among those arrested for particiapting in the protest. Fars news agency reported that she was released shortly thereafter.
Shots fired at Yemen demonstration
Leader of Yemen’s separatist movement arrested in Aden amid countrywide protests against President Saleh.
Shots have been fired at a demonstration in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, as anti-government protests in the impoverished Arab country entered their 11th consecutive day.
Thousands of people also staged sit-ins in the cities of Ibb and Taiz on Sunday, demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who renewed his call for opposition parties to pursue a dialogue with the government.